Grow Your Own: Why Organic / Why Local?
by Juan Jardinero
“Natural, organic and unrefined foods speak a language your genes understand.”
Following the footsteps of many cities around the world, Xela is taking part in the organic food trend.
Organic shops have opened up; organic markets are now a monthly event at Parque Central. Even events like the Biggest Organic Salad of Guatemala, which was recently organized in Xela, aim to promote and bring awareness about the food we consume and the way it’s being produced. Organic food and buying locally produced food have a huge impact on your health, on the economy, on politics and on the lives of those producing it. So here area few reasons why incorporating more and more organic food into our diets can be beneficial to all.
Conventionally grown produce is managed and mass produced thanks to use of agrochemicals. Pesticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and herbicides are sprayed regularly on the fields to ensure production. And though this has proven to be an effective way to maximize production, our fields, water sources and bodies are exposed to chemicals. Also food that is transported long distances to reach their final market also needs to be sprayed with other chemicals to ensure a longer shelf life. But buying from local farmers (which is easy to do in Guatemala) allows you to consume fresh produce.
Organically grown food has more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and micronutrients, which are drown up from the soil. Organic farmers tend to say they don’t grow vegetables, but instead grow rich top soil, and it is this soil that produces the vegetables. This constant nourishment of the soil allows for a complete cocktail of nutrients to produce healthier more nourishing vegetables.
Organically grown foods generally taste better because nourished, well-balanced soil produces healthy, strong plants. This is especially true with heirloom varieties, which are cultivated for taste over appearance.
Preserve our ecosystems:
Organic farming supports farming in harmony with nature. Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, and chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem. Wildlife, insects, frogs, birds, and soil organisms are able to play their roles in the ecology, and we are able to play ours, with less interference or compromise.
Supporting local organic farmers:
It is not enough to simply buy organic. While eating and encouraging organic food can be beneficial, buying organic food that has been shipped, flown or driven for thousands of kilometres can cause more harm than good. Local initiatives around town are trying to connect local farmers to consumers. Here is the real benefit. Supporting, through your purchase, a local farmer can not only ensure the quality of your food but encourage others to join in the production of organic food which will inevitably drive the prices down, make organic food available and a norm for consumers. More than simply buying organic, we encourage you to take the time to make conscious, informed purchases. The way you spend your money shapes the way of the world. Spend it on initiatives that protect the quality of the water, that encourage a healthy soil biology, that pay fair wages to their workers.