Houston Sustainable Food Gardeners

A forum dedicated to discussing how to easily grow organic food sustainably and inexpensively year-round in urban Houston settings, in individual and community vegetable gardens. Other food related issues are also discussed.
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 SOL Food, the Best Food = Seasonal + Organic + Local

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Grape Vine
Grape Vine

Posts : 112
Points : 260
Join date : 2010-06-04

PostSubject: SOL Food, the Best Food = Seasonal + Organic + Local   Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:04 pm

SOL Food, the Best Food = Seasonal + Organic + Local

Seasonally grown? Most food plants cannot grow well year-round in a particular locale. Some like cooler weather and some like really hot Houston weather. If you are cooking or being served the same fruits and vegetables all year round, you are neither eating locally nor eating sustainably because you are not eating seasonally. Many delicious fruits, greens, and vegetables that are easy to grow, each in its appropriate season, will not be found in grocery stores. This is because they don’t have the “toughness” to endure lengthy and arduous shipping processes, not because they don’t taste good.

Organic practices? Sustainable food is grown using organic practices that respect and rely on naturally occurring organisms to protect and naturally fertilize crops-basically the way nature has been doing it since before humans were around! When pests do become a problem the farmer specifically targets them using naturally occurring compounds. Sustainable organic practices continually improve biodiversity in the soil, unlike large-scale agri-businesses that use oil-based chemicals which continually degrade the soil. Sustainably grown food also minimizes water and electrical usage. For example, if a lot of energy and water is used to grow “certified organic” hothouse lettuces and tomatoes year-round, this is not sustainably organic food.

Locally grown? Local food is food grown relatively close to where you live. The closer it is grown to your home, the less environmental impact from things like transportation, refrigeration, packaging etc. Local food is also significantly fresher and lasts longer after you get it.

Put the “U” in SOUL Food by Eating Sustainably!

What are the differences between the terms “certified organic”, “organic practices”, “permaculture” and “sustainable”? “Organic practices”, “permaculture” and “sustainable” all refer to how nature works in prairies, forests, etc. and has been working since way before humans existed. They also describe how humans had always farmed before the invention of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides. The US government has made it illegal to label items of commerce as “organic” or “certified organic” unless growers have gone through the lengthy and expensive process of becoming officially certified. Therefore, “sustainable”, “permaculture” and “organic” practices used by smaller farms which cannot afford the official title are often identical or better practices to those used by officially certified farms.

Why are the combined SOL attributes best? Because together they are the most sustainable, the most likely to ensure the overall health and well being of the planet and the people who live there!

How do I know if I am getting SOL produce at local restaurants? Ask and think! Beware of “green washing”. What percentage of the food that is served is local? 80%? 50%? 1%? If spinach is the green offered year round it is not local, seasonal, or sustainably organic.

“Someone’s been eating my kale!” Bug bites on your food? This is how you know dangerous pesticides have not been applied to it. If the bugs won’t eat it, why should you? Chop it in salads or stir fry it!

For the best SOL > SOUL food, grow some of your own at home! Oregano, rosemary, and Mexican mint marigold all thrive pest-free in the ground for many years!

Information provided by: Biodiverse for Life a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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