What’s Better Eating Local, or Eating Organic?


Photo Source: Natural State Horticare

Parker Greason, Editor-in-Chief

As of 2021, organic food products are now available in three out of four conventional grocery stores, and the organic sales account for over four percent of total U.S. food sales, according to recent industry statistics. In addition, the industry has seen a massive influx in local food growth with an increase in consumption. 

Fortunately, the increase in organic and local food growth comes with great physical impacts, as they are much healthier alternatives than the overwhelming number of fast food industries throughout the country. Still, even if the label says “organic” upon purchase, it’s still always important to know what we put into our bodies, and how this food impacts the world around us. Eating local and eating organic can mean two different things. So which one is better?

The main difference between organic and local foods are based on location. While organic methods of farming promote health benefits and are much more natural, the “food miles” travelled are much more significant and can cause heavier pollutants. However, local foods are not necessarily grown using organic methods. 

Organic Food Benefits: The benefits to organic foods are mainly the food production. Organic food produces less pesticides, and the food is fresher, such as meats and milk can be richer in nutrients. Organic foods have no GMO’s, and they are better for the environment. In fact, according to helpguide.org, organic farming practices could “reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without synthetic pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.”

Locally Grown Benefits: Local food has its own benefits as well. Location, however, is the main difference. Because of how much closer local food sources are, the positive impact on the environment is a major factor versus organic foods. Yet, if the local food isn’t using organic methods, the consumer is ultimately jeopardizing their own health. 

“The key difference is location” adds Ms. Goodrich, science teacher at Pentucket, and advisor for the Environmental Science Club. “If you buy your fruit from a farm stand down the street, you’ve saved miles of gas and transportation, which helps the environment more. It leaves less of a carbon footprint.”

There are lots of examples in the community where local and organic food methods are put into place, such as Long Hill Farm in West Newbury. Schools, such as the Page Elementary School have created local, organically grown gardens to help supply their schools food with more natural products for the students. Whenever you drive by a farmstand, there are many scattered around the region, it never hurts to stop by and grab an apple, or a spring of lettuce. 

So which one is better? There are certain benefits to both food methods, and depending on the choice you make, there are certain costs to each. It’s just important to be aware of the foods you eat, and where you get them from, to better help your own health, and the health of our planet.