By Allison B.

When it comes to shopping, there’s one type of product that most stores sell. A product they sell, because they know it will entice us. It’s the kind of thing we look at, and our hearts begin to pound, and our mouths begin to moisten. And for all of us, the product that satisfies…is food!!! We all need food in our daily lives to get through the day and the best way to get it is in a store, right? Wrong! The best way, I think, is the healthy way, the safe way, the Georgia Locavore way: Buying it local and organic!

Buying things local and organic are really good for you and the community. But when it comes down to the two, what’s the difference? Buying local means that you are buying something that has been grown in your city, state, or neighboring state, so in this case, Georgia. But just because it’s local, doesn’t mean it’s organic. An organic product is one that has been grown with no pesticides, no added hormones, or no genetically modified seeds, plants, et cetera. So just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it’s organic, and vice versa.

This is exciting stuff! But how can a Girl Scout dig into her inner chef? Well, there’s a food badge for everyone.
  • Juniors have a badge called “Simple Meals”. With this badge, Girl Scout Juniors can learn how to make simple breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts. 
  • Cadettes have a badge called “New Cuisine”. With this badge, Girl Scout Cadettes can learn about dishes made in other countries and other parts of the U.S, and can even make them themselves! 
  • Seniors have a badge called “Locavore”. With this badge, Girl Scout Seniors can learn even more about local and organic foods, and talk to restaurant owners near them, while also making dishes with local foods. 
  • Ambassadors have a badge called “Dinner Party.” With this badge, Girl Scout Ambassadors can learn how to create a menu of their own and host their own dinner party while on a budget. 

But this isn’t all. There’s something we can ALL do: Plant your own organic foods in your own garden! And if you can’t, you can pick it yourself at a local farm. There are so many fun ways to be local and organic; you just might want to try a few!
On the opening day of the Suwanee Farmers Market, north of Atlanta, I experienced buying local in the special outdoor, friendly atmosphere that the market provides. It was so cool to see all of the tents with some incredible food. There were lettuces, onions, tomatoes, strawberries, honeys, jams, salsas, coffees, breads, pies, smoothies, and so much more. It was all from nearby towns, and a lot of the products were organic as well. But there wasn’t just food, there were vendors for everyone, ranging from pet products, to food, to jewelry, to books.

At the market, it was also cool to talk to some of the vendors about being organic and just how hard it is for small farms and businesses to be able to make that claim. Matt Fry of family-owned Fry Farms in Bethlehem, GA, explained about just how hard it can be to become organic, but that the benefits are incredible in the long run. “You have to get certified by the USDA for you to be able to say you’re organic. And for small farms, in can be very difficult and very expensive to get certified.” he said.

Fry Farms’ main goal is to bring safe and healthy fruits and vegetables to the people of Georgia. So when it comes down to a small, local, and clean farm, you know you’re buying something special that people have worked hard for and a farmers market like this offers just that and more! So why shop at a farmers market instead of a store? Sure you can buy your local, organic produce at a nearby store, but why not enjoy the fresh air!

Go to one of these websites for more farms and places in Georgia that sell organic food:

If you like to eat local or organic but don’t have time to shop and cook, there are many area restaurants that can serve it up. Ten Bistro in Norcross, GA proudly dishes up a variety of local and organic foods. Owner, Jesse Kauffman says they serve local foods because “By being local, you can be one with your community.”
He and his employees do a number of things to get local and organic products. His mom helps grow organic herbs and spices. They also get some of their organic products from one of three places including The Restaurant Depot and Royal. The Restaurant Depot is like a giant Costco with organic and local foods specifically for restaurants. Some of the food they get comes from a place that YOU can go to: the Buford Highway Farmers Market.
The way the chefs come up with new, organic, and tasty recipes is simple: They think of something new they’ve never tried; make it from scratch; and if it’s any good, they write it down. While I was there, Kauffman gave me the recipe to one of the restaurants most popular dishes: Butternut Squash.

Butternut Squash Recipe
1. Get five Butternut Squashes and cut them in half lengthwise.
2. Bake in the oven “meat side” down on wax-paper for either an hour or and hour and a half on 350.
3. Let them cool.
4. Scoop out the seeds.
5. Scoop out the “meat” and put them into a container.
6. Put in food-processor and add the following ingredients:
  • 2 Tbs organic and unsalted butter (if squash is hot, cut butter and put it on. If not, heat it in microwave first.
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 Tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • Half cup honey
  • 1 Tsp salt/pepper mix
7. Blend for 2-3 minutes.
8. Enjoy!

Amount = about one gallon

For more organic and local restaurants, surf here.
With so many foods to choose from, you might wonder which are the best and which are the worst. Well, here’s an answer! There is the Dirty Dozen: twelve foods you should try and stay away from because if they aren’t organic, they can hold A LOT more pesticides than any other products. And there’s also the Clean Fifteen: fifteen foods that are the healthiest, organic or not. 

Hopefully this list will help prepare you for how to buy your food.
So why is it good to buy local and organic? Sometimes local food can be slightly cheaper. It also is fresher; it hasn’t sat in trucks and planes as long to get to your store, since it was grown near you and when you buy something from Georgia, the money goes to Georgia. So you’re contributing to your community. When it comes to organic, it’s just healthier. They aren’t as cheap, but organic products can allow you to live a happier, healthier life and we all want that!
So whether at a farmers market, store, or restaurant, whenever you go shopping, be sure to check the labels. You just might find some great organic and local food at a store or restaurant near you. The process can be a lot of fun and when our bodies are always craving for more, it doesn’t hurt to spend a little extra to give yourself the nutrients you deserve! You will be fulfilled when YOU become a Georgia Locavore! Just don’t forget to save room for dessert!!!

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