Did you know a “9” at the beginning of your produce sticker number denotes an organic product?
A growing number of consumers are seeking out organic foods and are willing to pay the price for that ever-more present, “organic” label. Along with not wanting to ingest chemicals from conventionally grown foods, these consumers cite that organic farming methods are better for the environment. However, some ask, “How environmental is an organic product that has a supply chain that extends as far as another state, another country, or even another continent?” Many question the carbon foot print that an organic product from South America leaves on the planet when it is shipped all the way to an organic-loving Los Angelino.
As a result, an effort to “green up” the supply chain of our favorite organic foods, “locally grown” products and “farm-to-table” restaurants have become the new identifier. The organic-loving population now looks for at their grocery stores and favorite, local eateries. And, now, some restaurants are using what is known as “hyper-local sourcing.” Hyper-local sourcing is when food is grown on-site, often by using soil-less hydroponic systems, or even in urban gardens on roofs.
Locally grown alcohol has even become a “thing”. The National Restaurant Association recently reported on its 2015 Culinary Forecast that locally produced beer/wine/spirits is the #2 “alcohol trend.” Walk into a local Whole Foods and you’ll see signs hanging in beer aisle telling you how far away the featured breweries are, because, of course, the less a beer travels, the fresher and better it tastes, doesn’t it?
So, if you make the decision that you want to buy local as much as possible, how do you truly define what “local” is, or determine how your entrée truly went “farm to table”? Studies have shown that people’s perception of “locally grown” varies wildly, from an item being grown within 100 miles, to being grown anywhere within the same state. Currently, there are no set standards for what constitutes “local” or “farm to table,” as there are with organic foods as noted by the USDA Organic label that you are all familiar with. Within reason, most anybody can claim their product is “sourced locally,” but how do you really know? When it comes to the food you eat, what’s your definition of “local”?
This article was organically – and locally! - produced in Los Angeles, CA.