Organic farming conjures up images of healthy foods, fresh air and dedicated environmentalists who put their heart and soul into making our dining experience both tasty and beneficial.
Now for some compelling statistics. On September 15, 2017 as reported at agcensus.usda.gov Today, the U.S. Department of Agricultures National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of the 2014 Organic Survey, which show that 14,093 certified and exempt organic farms in the United States sold a total of $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014, up 72 percent since 2008.
The top 10 states in sales accounted for 78 percent of U.S. organic sales in 2014, with California leading the nation with $2.2 billion. Additionally, the industry shows potential for growth in production as approximately 5,300 organic producers (39 percent) report that they intend to increase organic production in the United States over the next five years. Another 688 farms with no current organic production are in the process of transitioning into organic agriculture production.
We love the numbers and the trends.
They have more to say and we want to hear it. The vast majority of organic agricultural products sold in 2014 were sold close to the farm. According to the report, the first point of sale for 80 percent of all U.S. organic products was less than 500 miles from the farm, compared to 74 percent in 2008.
Additionally, 63 percent of U.S. organic farms reported selling products to wholesale markets. These sales accounted for 78 percent of U.S. organic farm sales. Wholesale markets, such as buyers for supermarkets, processors, distributors, packers and cooperatives, were serving as the marketing channel of choice for U.S. organic farmers to get organic agriculture products to customers.
Those are some truly compelling and encouraging stats. They indicate that a sizable amount of the population is making a greater effort to eat healthy and are willing to spend the money to do it.
The informative timesofsandiego.com speaks to this trend as well. Farm-to-table is so much more than a trending food fad; its become a social movement changing the entirety of the restaurant industry. And with a little strategy, planning and relationship building, its a movement whose value far exceeds any cost disadvantage.
Awareness of this great farm to table movement is spreading. The dynamic site styleblueprint.com reports, Yes, the farm-to-table movement has been going quite strong in recent years and 2018 shows no signs of slowing. In fact, Forbes Magazine reports that the USDAs latest Census of Agriculture shows that the number of farmers under age 35 is increasing, which is only the second time thats happened since 1900.
What an encouraging forward thinking movement with commitment.
Lets visit a special eatery that is contributing to the healthy cause.
The business leader forbes.com announces, At The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine, owner Erin French begins imagining dinner at 7 a.m.but first, she checks the weather. The evenings courses, crafted with ingredients from nearby farms, pastures, fields and waters, need to suit the season and the temperature. Maybe its fried green tomatoes in the summer or whole-roasted trout in the spring.
When you are providing fresh cuisine daily you need flexibility in scheduling. Naturally.
Forbes added, The Lost Kitchen has generated intense curiosity and a surge of unexpected attention. In 2014, French transformed a decrepit 1830s grist mill in her hometown with the expectation that a community-focused eatery would make her a modest living. By 2016, the James Beard Foundation named her a semifinalist for Best Chef in the Northeast.
Thats extremely inspiring and even more impressive.
The New York Times was impressed with her restaurant as well. They shared, Connecting with guests is what keeps French and her staff afloat in their backbreaking line of work. After warily trying fish for the first time, one woman photographed her licked-clean plate and told French the meal changed her life. A 22-year-old wrote to French about her plan to attend culinary school. A 92-year-old claimed the halibut was the best piece of fish hed ever tasted. These interactions have kept French anchoredserving as a kind of magical reminder to put people before publicity.
We are so happy that Erin and others like her are determined to bring us a healthy, organic and warm experiences in story form.
Now that is a fairy tale that goes beyond fantasy.
To continue enlightening us about this healthy option is a visiting female writer.
Jennifer Regan is an educator, coach and entrepreneur. She is the owner and founder of Bamboo Core Fitness, a personal training and holistic lifestyle coaching business based just outside of Boston.
Jennifer holds a BS in Exercise Science and Minors in Health and Nutrition from Ithaca College, is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and a C.H.E.K Institute Holistic Lifestyle Coach. In addition, she is a Cancer Wellness Specialist and holds certification in AED, CPR and First Aid.
Jennifer possesses an in-depth knowledge of creating and delivering weight management, sports-specific, injury prevention, rehabilitation, lifestyle management and nutrition programs for individuals and teams. She has been coaching, motivating and assisting clientele of varying ages, genders and abilities to overcome physical and emotional health challenges, increase health and vitality levels, and improve sport performance for over a decade.
Jennifer enjoys the challenge that no two individuals are alike, acknowledges that each one of us is motivated in different ways, and feels blessed that each client brings a new and special dynamic to her life each and every day.
Please enjoy her contribution.
You Are What You Eat – A Closer Look at Organic Farming
You Are What You Eat
You are what you eat and the nutrition of the food you eat is just a symptom of the soil it came from. If you consume high quality foods that were grown in an organic, nutrient rich soil, then you will most likely be healthy, assuming you practice a holistic lifestyle to some degree. If you eat poor quality foods that come from a soil dense with toxins and void of life and nutrients, then inevitably, your body will follow suit and become toxic.
If you eat animal products such as meat, poultry, or dairy, the lifestyle these animals had when they were alive will also impact your health in either a positive or negative manner. Your body will be healthier if the animal products you eat come from animals that were raised in clean and stress-free environments, free of growth hormones and antibiotics, and bred consuming plants grown in healthy organic soil. To examine this circle of health, we must visit organic farming.
Organic on the South Lawn
Organic farming, the green and natural way of planting and harvesting crops, is on an upswing these days. This method of farming is becoming popular because it works with Mother Nature, not against her. Even the First Lady, Michelle Obama, has planted an organic garden on the South Lawn of the White House, an impressive 1,100-square-foot plot of raised beds consisting of 55 varieties of vegetables, all originating from organic seedlings at the Executive Mansion’s greenhouses. Although the term “organic” has exploded within the past few years, its concept has been around since the mid 1900’s.
Where Did the Term, “Organic Farming” Come From?
In 1940, Lord Northbourne, an agriculturist, coined the term, “organic farming” in his book, Look to the Land. He based this phrase on the concept of “the farm as organism” and wrote about “the farm as a living whole” (p.81). He held a holistic view and believed that the farm itself needed to be a living entity and any farming in which the farm does not need to be dependent on chemicals to operate should be labeled as organic farming. Lord Northbourne’s idea took some time to spread. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when organic crop production began to develop as an industry.
What Exactly is Organic?
Organic food is grown without the use of toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, growth hormones, and antibiotics and cannot be genetically engineered. Organic produce and meat are immensely better for your health than commercially farmed foods and because organic farming does not involve the use of chemicals, it also supports a healthy environment. Commercial farming methods uses various pesticides and fertilizers which destroy soils, negatively affects the plants grown in such soils, sickens the animals eating these plants, and ultimately harms the humans dependent upon them.
Other Benefits of Organically Farmed Food
Not only do organically farmed foods contain fewer toxins, but they also have a much higher nutritional value than commercially farmed products. Although organic foods tend to cost more, they do contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and proteins. Another benefit is that they contain high levels of potent antioxidants called, “phenolic compounds,” nutrients responsible for removing cancer-causing free radicals in the body. Organic foods, especially produce often taste much better than commercially farmed foods.
“Organically Grown” Verses “Certified Organic”
Farms located in the United States that wish to grow and distribute organic food are required to adhere to strict guidelines established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), The National Organic Program (NOP), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For a farm to achieve organic certification in the United States, the fields used for agricultural farming must be farmed for a minimum of three years without the use of conventional pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. This is to assure that any chemical residues left in the soil from previous exposure is removed. Farmers harvesting during this three year grace period are able to label their food as “organically grown.” However, three years is not a long period, and there is no guarantee that the soil at these farms is completely free of chemicals at this time. For example, DDT, a highly toxic insecticide banned in the U.S. in 1972 but still used in other countries today, has a reported half-life of 2-15 years. Since the soils of “organically grown” food may still contain pesticides, it is best to purchase foods labeled as “certified organic.” An even healthier and more economical solution is to grow your own organic herbs and vegetables this season.
Grow Your Own Organic Garden
If you are interested in gardening, but have never practiced it before, it is never too late to start. In fact, given the dire straits of our food industry, now is a perfect time to begin sowing your own organic vegetable seeds. In doing so, you will be improving and controlling your own health and aiding in the restoration of environmental balance.
Roll Up Your Sleeves, Get Dirty, Give Back to the Environment, and Put Organic Onto Your Plate and Into Your Body
Growing your own organic vegetable garden is a wonderful experience and reminding your taste buds what it is like to eat unaltered food again is a gift. Committing your mind, muscles, and nurturing spirit for a couple hours a week to a garden you have tended to since its birth is well worth the investment. To watch the soil, sun, and air work together to produce sustenance for you and your family is miraculous and extremely gratifying.
For that short window of time when you are harvesting some of the freshest vegetables you have ever eaten, you will have satisfaction in knowing that you have momentarily regained control from food scientists and a profit-driven government (whose ties are mostly to the agricultural industry, not always the people) that is unceasingly feeding consumers with unhealthy products and faulty nutrition-education.
When you are in control of the food that you are consuming, you do not have to spend great lengths of time deciphering food labels or worrying that in your quest to find high quality and organic produce you are burning a hole in your wallet. Nor will you have to fret over pesticides or bogus health claims!
If creating your own vegetable garden is not an option, you can still take advantage of fresh organic crops. Some great alternatives include container gardening, community gardening, and seeking out local farmer’s markets, which are becoming increasingly popular.
Think Before You Act
So next time you are about to purchase produce or meat, take a minute and decide which route you want to go: commercially farmed or organically farmed. If you can, choose the food that came from the richest and most healthy of all soils: organic. Your body, its health, and the environment will thank you in the long run.
After all, you are what you eat.
(In upcoming articles I will touch upon many more topics dealing with organic food such as “organic gardening tips” and “learning how to choose between organic brands.”)
In good health,
- Northbourne, L., 1940, Look to the Land, J. M. Dent, London.
– Jennifer M. Regan, NASM-CPT, C.H.E.K HLC
Jennifer Regan is the founder and owner of Bamboo Core Fitness, a personal training and holistic lifestyle coaching business based in the Boston and Metrowest areas.
Jennifer holds a BS in Exercise Science and Minors in Health and Nutrition from Ithaca College, is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, and a C.H.E.K Holisitc Lifestyle Coach. In addition, she is a Cancer Wellness Specialist and holds certification in AED, CPR, and First Aid.
For more information on health, nutrition, and fitness topics, please visit her web site at: http://www.bamboocorefitness.com
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OPENING PHOTO Find The Lost Kitchen photo credit
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