Local and Organic: Real, Honest-to-Goodness Wholesome, Nourishing Food

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We have all heard the expression, “You are what you eat.”

If you’re eating a conventional apple at a big-box national grocery store, it could very well be an apple pumped full of insecticides, chemical herbicides, and fertilizers.  

If you’re eating a locally grown organic apple, then you’re simply eating a locally grown organic apple.

Many of us rely on the government to keep our food safe and don’t think much about what we’re putting into our bodies, but we really should pay better attention. Food is our fuel, and the better the fuel, the better the engine that drives us.

“Eating organic food is one of the simplest ways to feed your body good nutrition while helping support organic agriculture across farming landscapes,” explains Bea James, senior manager of organic, natural, and sustainable programs at Lunds and Byerly’s. Bea, who jokes that she has “hippy in her blood,” was raised in Eugene, Ore. on a diet of organic wholesome foods. For the past 30 years, she’s been involved in the natural food business.

There will be a strong natural, organic presence at the Living Green Expo, thanks, in large part, to Lunds and Byerly’s thinking outside of the box and partnering with local co-ops The Wedge, Mississippi Market, Linden Hills, and Eastside Food Co-op.

“The co-ops work together all the time, but the partnership with Lunds and Byerly’s is new,” explains Elizabeth Archerd, membership and marketing manager at The Wedge Co-op.  

Almost immediately, there was an exciting synergy between Bea, representing the mission of the family-owned Lunds and Byerly’s supermarkets, and the managers of the four local co-ops.

There’s a mutual respect between the community-based co-ops—run by paid staff, many of whom are members, who decide on prices and what should be stocked at the store, often supporting local businesses by selling items from local vendors (kind of like a year-round indoor farmers’ market)—and Lunds and Byerly’s, the only local non-natural foods store in the Twin Cities to have certified organic produce departments.

“[The certified organic produce departments were initiated] because we believe in protecting the organic farmers’ hard work by having processes in place to maintain the organic status of our produce,” Bea says. “We take a lot of steps to keep our organic produce truly organic from the farm to our customers.”

Both Bea and Elizabeth believe that healthy food isn’t a privilege; it is a right.

“I hear people all the time say ‘I hate fruits and vegetables’ and I can only think they haven’t tasted the food we sell,” Elizabeth says. “Organic produce is irresistible.”

“Organic food is delicious, affordable, and such an easy way to support a sustainable lifestyle because organic food supports the soil, air, ground water…heck the environment!” Bea says.

The road to better health is a long one, and radical changes don’t have to be made all at once. Start with your cupboard—eliminate processed food, try to cook a healthy meal, and begin incorporating organic fruits and vegetables.

Start slow and be patient. Use the Internet for inspiration and research.Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be an intimidating “high-wire act,” Elizabeth says. It can be as simple as bringing home veggies and cooking them immediately so they don’t get forgotten or wasted—roast them in the winter, grill them in the summer.

It’s a radically new way of thinking about eating because it’s so very old. When people are ready to learn more about where their food comes from and how they can go “back to basics,” they become more considerate shoppers and better stewards of the planet.

“Eating green is easy, delicious, and good for everyone,” Elizabeth says. “We’re going to have fun at the Living Green Expo. If you don’t know where to start, this is your starting place.”

Celebrity Chef Stage:

Talented well-known chefs will be appearing on the cooking stages to demonstrate delicious and impressive recipes that will knock your organic socks off! Don’t miss out!

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