If you were looking for an easy answer to this question, you probably would have stopped at our name. But since you made it this far, we're guessing that you've thought of the pros and cons of both local and organic food, and that you are still wondering about the labels and prices that stare back at you from grocery store shelves.
'Local' and 'organic' are words that attempt to describe a more thoughtful and holistic approach to the food we eat and how we get it. Think of them as photographs. They are really great snapshots, but neither of them shows you the whole picture. Here are some examples of their limitations:
A food product might be grown locally, even at the farm next door. But where is it produced? (Think butchering for animals; cleaning and packaging for vegetables and fruit). We've heard of food grown in Manitoba that travels all the way to the west coast to be processed, only to be shipped back to Manitoba and sold as a 'local' product.
Certified organic can guarantee that you're not going to be eating animals pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, or vegetables and fruit that have been genetically modified. But an organic tomato that has travelled thousands of miles to get to your plate isn't exactly contributing to a balanced food system. Plus, it's probably not going to taste half as good as a freshly grown, local tomato.
The simplest answer we can give you is that we promote local and organic as much as possible. If the thought of looking for both of these labels on your food overwhelms you, we've got a few resources to help you out.
Find Local & Organic Food
Visit our Local Organic Food page to find a quick reference list that includes directories, grocers, farmers, and sources for growing food yourself. This list is primarily useful for people living in and around Winnipeg.
Our Down To Earth guide is a more extensive list of all the organic farmers and retailers in Manitoba that we know about.
If you're feeling enthusiastic enough to do a little more research, we've got a few more treats for you here. One of our sister chapters has created a very useful resource that will help you create a food strategy to incorporate local, organic foods into your diet and budget. Download Regain Control of Your Food Choices: Build Your Local Organic Food Strategy (542 KB).
General Principles of Organic Production