Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.
Organic food is NOT: a diet, a fad or something only granola-eating hippies eat. Simply put, organic food is grown the way nature intended. It is the way food was grown for millineum before the industrial revolution.
At Dandelion, over 90% of our ingredient list is made from organically grown foods. As we also stick to a vegetarian ethos for most of our recipes, there are some items that simply cannot be found organically, but which we still insist are free of artificial colors, preservatives and additives. We purchase our produce from an exclusively organic distributor, choosing Florida or Georgia grown as available, with occasionally bumper crops from a local grower that we trust. On occasion, there simply are not any organic lemons or peppers available, and on these rare occasions we do substitute with conventionally grown.
Our entire line of tea and herbs is organically sourced as well because you can’t wash off tea.
Let’s make a quick distinction between certified organic and what we call relationship organic. While a certifying agent can keep things on the up and up, it is important to understand that a certifying body is created because we no longer have direct relationships with our growers. When we know a person well, have walked their land and understand that their practices are organic, then we have a peace of mind that comes from a direct connection to knowing for ourselves if a particular crop is good for us and the earth.
The term organic is a somewhat limiting word, however, and does not take into account the values of local, small scale, and independent that we value just as much. We have to use common sense and make adjustments to our procurement as more artisan products come to market and our local food network builds capacity.
- Simple Living Institute – Organic Growers Meetings
- Florida News & Action Resources
- Homegrown Co-op – Locally focused organic cooperative
- Audubon Park Community Market – Locally focused organic growers
- Get Green Organics – Home delivery service
- Orlando Organics – Home delivery service
- LocalHarvest – Farm Finder
- Homegrown Delights, LLC
- Eat Well Guide – kinda like Local Harvest, but with restaurants included.
Research & Articles
- Organic Consumers Association: Organic Transitions
- Creating an Organic World For Baby
- 10 Reasons to Go Organic
- Why Organic Foods are Better for Health
- A Month of Organic Eating
Please feel free to leave your comments or recommendations below.