- When you buy organic food that’s in larger grocery stores, read up on the producers by googling their name for any watchdog articles. Cornucopia Institute is an organic watchdog organization doing great work. If you want to make even more of an impact, call a producer and ask them what practices they do to increase soil health and carbon sequestration. Be very clear with any meat producers: “Pastured” is not enough as pretty much all cattle are pastured at some point in their lives before they go to the feed lot. You have to ask if they are “Grain Finished.”
- If it’s chickens, you need to ask how many hours a day the chickens spend in the sun, outdoors. They may be “cage free” but how many chickens are in the chicken house? If it’s dairy, how many times a day are the cows milked and how many hours a day do they spend directly on pasture? If they advertise their animal products as organic...are they certified? Do they test the feed? Is it nonGMO Project verified?
- If you currently eat a processed food product that isn’t organic, call the company and tell them you love their product, you’ve bought it for ages but that you are changing your diet to organic. Tell them you will start buying their product again when they have an organic version and to please let you know so you can spread the word about it.
- Ask your farmer’s market farmers if they are USDA or state certified (CCOF, Tilth) organic. If they aren’t, ask them why. Ask them what do they use for fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, any sprays or amendments. Ask them if they would consider changing the way they grow their products so you can be one of their customers. If they say it’s too hard and take too long to get certified, remind them that at farmer’s markets, if people trust they are not using conventional chemicals and are farming regeneratively they’ll support the premium pricing more. Be polite and make sure they understand that you care and want to support them.
- Start reading your local newspaper and pay more attention to what food/gardening/ag issues your local governments (city or county) are considering. Comment to make sure they hear from those of us who want strong local food systems to thrive.
- Write letters to the editor about your favorite food issues. People read them and it makes a difference, plus it can get a food discussion going in the community.
- Learn more about permaculture and biodynamic gardening and farming.
- Support city measures that create incentives for community and school gardens
Making change at the county and state level
Make calls or sign petitions to your local, state or national governing bodies when there is a potential policy that will:
- Support organic farmers
- Threaten organic standards
- Support urban farming- animals, bees, front yard gardens
- Support local food systems- funding for regional hubs, create regional food infrastructure
- Create tax incentives for urban farming, urban food forests
- Create funding or tax incentives for community gardens