Do you wonder where your supermarket does its own shopping? From which butcher do they purchase their meat? How many pesticides were used to treat some of the fruits and veggies you see displayed on the store’s shelves? Grocery shopping can sometimes be a game of ‘chance’ when it comes to picking nutritious, healthy and safe foods.
We all have a right to eat… right. But it’s in our own hands to do the necessary due diligence to find the best food products available. The key is to eat what is grown within your region. Eating sustainable foods from around Ohio’s region is the most reliable means to find meat and eggs raised without added hormones or antibiotics and produce grown without the use of pesticides. The best meats are from animals which are raised in free range, non-confined pastures and open spaces, 100 percent vegetarian fed (or grass fed) and are hormone and antibiotic-free.
Some may think that finding out where your food was grown and processed is a difficult task. How do we locate farms, markets, caterers, restaurants and other industries that support this ‘eating local’ ideology?
We are fortunate to live in a state where agriculture happens to be the number one industry, contributing to approximately $98 billion of the state’s economy. Ohio produces more than just food, it allows for substantial grain production, facilitating a strong supply of animal feed products. Ohio is also a leader in nursery stock production, such as African violets and poinsettias. Ohio is the epicenter to more than 1,000 food processing plants and produces more than 200 commercial crops. We are fortunate to live in a state that is the leading producer in more than 35 product sectors.
So, it should be comforting to know that you’re in good hands if you’re looking for the right farm or market that will sell these organic goods. There are several organizations and online guides that can easily steer you in the right direction and help you locate the closest sustainable food and agricultural products made and grown in Ohio.
Some links below can help you find locally grown and pesticide free produce, eggs, meat and flowers at farms, markets, restaurants and more.
http://www.eatwellguide.org – This website will help you search out organic and local food by keyword, category, location, products and/or production methods. You can also download a customized travel guide that will show you how to find local, sustainable foods wherever you travel. There are also tutorials and interesting tips about seasonal foods.
http://www.ohioproud.org – Ohio Proud is the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s program to promote Ohio-made and grown food and agricultural products. By supporting local farmers and food processors, Ohio’s livelihood and your community will benefit. Ohio Proud uses their logo on products to help consumers identify Ohio-made and grown products.
http://www.oeffa.org – The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) is a member-ship-based, grassroots organization dedicated to supporting and marketing ecological and healthful food systems. Membership at OEFFA includes farmers, consumers, gardeners, chefs, political activists, researchers, retailers, etc. These members all desire to create and maintain a food system that is good for the earth, the people, and for the future.
http://www.localharvest.org – This website helps you access local markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies. In order to support the website, a catalog is also available to shop for organic foods you can’t find locally.
http://oh.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/index.php – The Ohio MarketMaker is an interactive mapping system that locates businesses and markets of agricultural products in Ohio, providing an important link between producers and consumers. This project helps to promote and enhance Ohio’s agricultural and natural resources economy by linking farmers and processors with food retailers, caterers, chefs, and other food supply chain contacts.
We all need to use discretion with the foods we put into our bodies. So, next time you’re wondering where to get your next bite to eat, just remember that locally-grown foods are fresh, whole and nutrition-packed.