Sustainable farms produce crops without relying on toxic chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified seeds or practices that degrade the soil and water. By growing a variety of plants and using techniques such as crop rotation and conservation, sustainable farms naturally maintain healthy ecosystems.
Organic is a certified labeling term that indicates that food has been produced through approved and sustainable methods.
So, ask yourself, “should I (and my family) be eating a local, sustainable, organic diet”?
If the answer is yes, then learn about the produce you buy. Ask your produce supplier the following questions the next time you go shopping:
1. Were pesticides used in growing these products ?
Pesticides damage the environment by polluting the air, water, soil and threaten human health. Instead of pesticides, organic farms grow pest-resistant crops and use predatory insects and mechanical pest traps to control plant-eating pests.
2. What type of fertilizers were used?
The safe way to fertilize soil is by using compost or manure. Synthetic fertilizers are harmful to the environment.
3. Do the farms grow a diversity of produce and avoid genetically modified seeds?
Crop diversity is a good indicator of sustainability because farmers will rotate crops among different fields, so that the fields can stay healthy and free of disease. Genetically modified seeds often cause allergic reactions in humans and environmental damage because their makeup has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.
If you don’t like the answers you get about the produce you buy now, look for another source that is local, sustainable, organic.
Enjoy some of your summer produce in this great relish:
Small Batch Summer Relish
Makes: 2 cups
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 lbs organic zucchini and/or organic yellow squash
Half a medium organic onion
Half a red or yellow organic bell pepper
Finely dice the vegetables with a knife. I don’t like using the processor for relish because it makes the squash watery and a grater makes them too fine for relish.
In a large saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, crushed red pepper and salt to boiling on high, stirring continuously. Stir in the squash, onion and bell pepper.
Simmer 60 minutes or until the mixture is very tender and very soft, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate until cold. Store up to 1 week in the refrigerator or freeze in small containers.