With the holidays fast approaching, you may be planning your Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. It is possible have a delicious holiday meal while reducing your impact on the environment. Cooking with local and organic food is an easy way to enjoy your holiday celebrations with an eye toward sustainability.
The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Organic crops must be grown in safe soil, have no modifications, and must remain separate from conventional products. Farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. For more information please check out this guide to organic food on helpguide.org.
"Buying local" loosely refers to buying foods that are grown or made close to home. Local purchases reduce carbon emissions emitted during the transportation of products. (In fact, the average distance an American meal travels from the farm to your dinner plate is over 1500 miles.) Buying local also reduces the need for preservatives used to keep food stable for transport and sale. Local fruits and vegetables are the freshest food you can purchase; they are harvested when ripe and are full of flavor. Buying local also strengthens the local economy. More money goes directly to the farmer and not to marketing or distribution.
You can check out the Eat Well Guide and Local Harvest to find locations to purchase local and organic foods in your area. You can also check this article by the Natural Resources Defense Council to learn tips for purchasing your turkey this Thanksgiving.
Readers who live in our neighborhood can check out the list below for Kansas farms and stores in the greater Greensburg area that sell local and organic food products:
- Bee Well Herbs – Located in downtown Pratt, the store features supplements, herbs, natural and gluten-free foods, boutique clothing items, and gifts. They specialize in great customer service.
- Dale Family Farms - Dale Family Farms in Protection is great source of grass-fed beef, pork, and poultry. You can purchase meat at their farm, or you can get on an email list to be notified of dates when deliveries are available (in the Greensburg, Wichita, Lindsborg, Olathe, and Dodge City areas). Call Andi at 620-622-4473 for more information.
- Wendland Diversified Farm - The Wendlands raise chickens and other meat and eggs seasonally at their farm in Stafford County south of St. John. Their free-range birds are USDA inspected, free-range, and average 5-7 pounds each. Call Kathleen at 620-549-3266 or Brian at 620-546-5106 to place your order.
- Jason Wiebe Dairy – From their farm outside of Durham, the Wiebes sell natural, hormone-free cheese that is carefully crafted from milk from their own cows. Their products can be bought at Bee Well Herbs or ordered through their website.
- Dillons Grocery Store in Pratt carries organic produce and has a small natural foods section in the front of the store. Their produce manager, Steve, will special order organics for customers.
- Whole Foods – Not to be confused with the national chain, this Whole Foods is a local enterprise, with 3 stores located in Wichita.
- Green Acres Market – A family-owned natural foods market and deli in Wichita, in operation since 1994.
- Food for Thought - The first store of its kind Wichita, in operation since 1971. In addition to groceries, they have an nice section filled with kitchen gadgets and gifts.
- Natural Grocers – A natural food store opening in Wichita on November 23rd. Founded in the '50s in Colorado and originally known as Vitamin Cottage, they now have a presence in 10 states. The Wichita store will be their second location in Kansas. The ribbon cutting for their new store in Lawrence took place last week.
If we've left anyone out from the area that we should know about, please be sure to let us know at info(at)greensburggreentown.org. Wishing you and your family many happy, healthy meals to come!