Week 2 Challenge: Shopping
To procure conscious food, stack the odds in your favor. It takes an education to get the good stuff at a supermarket, but you have to work really hard to get the bad stuff at a farmers’ market. If you join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm or grow (some of) your own food, it’s literally impossible to get the bad stuff. So your challenge this week, if you choose to take it, is to back slowly away from the supermarket and attempt to up the ratio of food you buy outside supermarkets. If you only have supermarkets as an option, pick up a copy of The Conscious Kitchen. It will offer you the education needed to shop in them, and plenty of resources for locating farms and other options you might not know are truly just around the corner from you.
Places to Shop (Other than Supermarkets) for Conscious Food
There’s no better way to get a wide variety of what’s growing in season than to shop at a farmers’ market. It’s one stop shopping, much like a store. If you want organic and don’t see the sign, ask questions to find out what, how much, and when farmers are spraying their crops. Many small farmers grow organically but are not certified, or only spray if absolutely necessary. More and more markets now have stalls for cheese, bread, prepared food, meat, eggs, and even soaps and lotions. Some markets have requirements regarding how the food at the stalls was raised and where it comes from. Others don’t. Get to know the governing rules at your market. And always ask questions when shopping at these stalls. If you’re interested in pastured eggs, find out if the quiche or baked goods contain them. If you want local cheese, find out where the cheese is from. Sometimes a local cheese shop sets up a stand and can sell any kind of cheese from any country. Be extra vigilant when buying meat and fish, even at a farmers’ market. Animal treatment and feed varies from farm to farm, and local waters may not be safe to eat seafood from. I’ll address meat and fish more in upcoming weeks. And remember, local junk food is still junk food keep this in mind as you inhale those (delicious) cider donuts, or fried first-of-the-season asparagus. Whole foods are the most conscious choices at any farmers’ market.
Challenge: Identify a farmers’ market in your area using the “Get Local Info” tool on The Daily Green’s homepage (or at Local Harvest) and make a plan to make your next shopping trip include a trip to the local farmers’ market….