Why Buy Local Organic Produce in Colorado
There are many reasons to support your decision to purchase locally grown organic produce – here are just a few…
Because local organic produce doesn’t need to withstand long distance travel and extended storage times, it doesn’t need to be nearly as “durable.” This results in an opportunity to grow varieties of produce that are characterized by vibrant and memorable flavors (usually the first thing to go when seed companies strive to increase durability). Additionally, local organic produce can be “vine ripened” and delivered without additives and preservatives that would otherwise be necessary for national or international distribution. The bottom line for you is a better tasting product.
When flavor is bred out of fruits and vegetables for the sake of durability, this typically brings with it a depletion of nutritional value. Our existing food supply chain relies heavily upon the transportation of food over long distances. In order for this to be possible, fruit must be harvested before it is ripened, which doesn’t allow the fruit to fully develop nutritionally. The produce is also irradiated to kill germs and layered with preservatives, such as wax on cucumbers.
“A recent USDA study… says that the average tomato of today, the kind on your Whopper or Taco Bell taco, has “30 percent less vitamin C, 30 percent less thiamin 19 percent less niacin, and 62 percent less calcium than it did in the 1960s. But that modern tomato does shame its 1960s counterpart in one respect: It contains 14 times as much sodium.” – To find out more about today’s tomato read Kurt Michael Friese article in the Huffpost, Foods section “Why the Modern Tomato is Flawed: Inside Tomatoland”.
There is abundant research surrounding the effects of pesticides and herbicides on humans, and what levels of these harmful chemicals are acceptable for human consumption. While the results of these studies vary, there is a commonly held understanding that they certainly don’t provide any health benefit. Because local farms typically operate on a much smaller scale than international commercial operations, their reliance upon these harmful substances is greatly reduced. For more information about pesticides please visit: What's on My Food?
Food miles refers to the distance a food item travels from the farm to your home. The food in a typical grocery store has, on average, traveled a distance 27 times greater than food purchased from local sources.  These food miles translate to a carbon footprint that will continue to deplete our planet of non-renewable resources. Our current industrial food system is completely reliant upon the cheap transportation afforded by fossil fuels – when these resources are depleted, our access to food will be greatly impacted, as will the prices we pay for food. By committing to a local food economy now, we are able to build the infrastructure necessary to support our food system as it moves toward a changing energy future.
Approximately 40 percent of all chemical fertilizers used eventually break down into ammonia and are released into the atmosphere. Researchers from the Department of Economics at the University of Essex put the annual cost of environmental damage caused by industrial farming in the United States at $34.7 billion. 
The average U.S. farm uses 3 kcal of fossil energy in producing 1 kcal of food energy (in feedlot beef production, this ratio is 35:1), and does not include the energy used to process and transport the food.
In 1996, the U.S. government spent $68.7 billion on agricultural subsidies, translating into $259 per consumer and even more per taxpayer.  These subsidies serve to artificially drive down the price of food and are distributed, almost entirely, to large commodity producers. The result is an international food economy that puts severe economic pressure on small scale farmers producing for local markets. By supporting local producers, your dollars remain in the local food economy and work to build opportunities for farmers in your community, and ultimately your access to better food!
Visit the Epicurious Seasonal Map here to see what is in season now.
1. Pirog, Rich, and Andrew Benjamin. “Checking the Food Odometer: Comparing Food Miles for Local Versus Conventional Produce Sales in Iowa Institutions.” Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. July, 2003.
2. Howarth, R, et. al. (2000). “Nutrient pollution of coastal rivers, bays, and seas.” Issues in Ecology Vol. 7.
3. Norberg-Hodge, H, Merrifield T, and Gorelick S. (2002) Bringing the food economy home: local alternatives to global agribusiness. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press, Inc.
4.Horrigan,L, Lawrence, R, Walker P. (2001). How sustainable agriculture can address the environmental and human health harms of industrial agriculture.Environ Health Perspect http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.02110445
5. Myers N. (1998). Perverse subsidies: tax $s undercutting our economies and environments alike. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada:The International Institute for Sustainable Development.
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