With the movement shifting towards more local, freshly-grown or cultivated produce landing on the table, it’s easy to give some love and awareness toward farmers. Healthy foods mean a more productive and longer life. By supporting organics, we also support the Earth that has given us so much.

Growing crops is to give back to both people and the Earth. However, farming is a serious life; there are many farmers that are barely making ends meet as it is. If you plan to support local farming, you should do it all the way. Here are ways on how you might do it.

Restaurants that support and use locally grown produce/Check

Restaurants always use fresh ingredients, but some of them go all the way. There are those that use locally grown vegetables and meat fresh from the farm, whether they source it from large- or small-scale farming operations. The Eat Well Guide as well as Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating are only some of the guides you can look to if you want to know which ones support local farmers. Alternatively, you can call restaurants to inquire whether they support local produce or not.

Pay attention to ALL your food/Check

Farmers grow crops and there are some popular food choices that always get the nod; asparagus, tomatoes, and wheat are only some of the crops that always feature. Humble pie crops like beans and mustard seeds don’t always get the nod, but rotation is required to always make the soil healthy and high-yield. Learn to eat those crops as well if you plan to support farmers all the way.

Eat rare/Check

Rare here doesn’t mean a rare steak. What it means is to search for food which is considered native to your area. These are known as ‘heritage breeds’ and they differ from place to place, but are considered cheaper to race. If you want to plan a diet, include more of these local varieties than food that grows in other places. Doing so supports farmers whose budgets are mostly restricted they only have space for local produce.

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Include fresh harvest in your menus/Check

This might be too much work, but it’s required if you want to make a difference in supporting your local farmers. As the seasons change, learn to shift your diet into seasonal crops to maximize buying local produce. For example, shift colder month crops like kale or beet greens when you cook pesto. If you want to create pasta for summer, substitute peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes.

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Volunteerism/Check

The biggest support that you can give, though, is to volunteer your time to local farms. A local farm near you might need extra hands to support a large variety of tasks. Use your time wisely and you’ll find that you can grow your own food.

Perhaps the way to healthier, more affordable food is to go back to the basics. Farms are always in need of help; be aware of what is happening in your community and lend a hand or two. Doing this will go a long way in supporting local farms.

When you’re on a diet to lower blood pressure or bring back your norm, they say greens are the way to go. Aside from being naturally grown, greens don’t also feature preservatives or chemicals that are man-made. You know what they say about man-made greens; if it’s man-made, it’s probably got a few cons for you.

If you’re planning a green diet or want to have a greener one, here’s what you should go after.

Substitute Junk Food with Celery

If you’ve seen celery sticks being eaten raw, that’s because they have good benefits. Their green color is a natural aid to losing weight and increased metabolism of the body. Apart from that, celery sticks are also a natural source of potassium. Potassium, for those who want to know, brings back a bit of lost energy as well as lowers blood pressure, helping your nerves and blood.

Fruits and Vegetable for Happiness

Looking for a way to stay positives? Studies have shown that vegetables and fruits are a natural aid in staying happy. People who have a steady diet of them also are more positive and more optimistic than their non-eating counterparts. Aside from that, eating papaya and green tea leaves—particularly—gives you a better fighting chance against diabetes, which is another reason to be positive.

Peas and Green Juice—stay young

If you’re looking for the fountain of youth, the color of the liquid would be green. That is one of the benefits of green vegetables. Specifically, green peas help in increasing your immune system’s health. Another benefit of these vegetables is that they help in stopping blood from clotting as well as a natural source of Vitamin K, a stop-gap for certain conditions because of age.

Spring Greens and Broccoli—for health

If you’re looking for something that helps keep your body strong and young at the same time, go for leafy spring greens and broccoli. These vegetables are a good source of Vitamins C and K, as well as a good source of folate and sulforaphan and indoles, respectively. Folate helps you regulate cell growth and reproduction while sulforaphane and indoles are naturally occurring compounds.

A Natural Cancer deterrent

Cancer, specifically of the colon, cowers when you have kale and mustard greens in your body. Broccoli and cabbage have the same effect—a study done in 2011 showed that eating these greens gave the body a higher fighting chance against cancer. Colorectal cancer chance was reduced to 1 out of 15 when the presence of these greens was in the body.

The next time someone offers you salad or celery sticks, you know what to do. You should learn to love vegetables; aside from being generally easier to eat than meat and usually a cheaper choice, they’re also healthier for the body.

There once was a time when organic gardening got you labeled as someone who loved the environment too much or someone who was too health conscious. Being one of those two became a trend these days and everybody wanted to try out creating their own organic garden. Now, you can too, and reap the benefits of using your gardening soil for something better.

Before you start looking for the easiest crops to start growing, however, you need to understand how to start one properly.

Make the Soil your Target

One of the first mistakes of people who aim to own a garden—organic or otherwise—is paying too much attention on the plant. They begin buying plants without realizing that the soil needs checking or has to be healthy. The plants are fine; they can grow in the soil only if you make the soil healthier to support life. It is important for the soil to be checked first for nutrients.

Add in Compost

Compost is material made from mixing soil with organic waste. This means leftover fruits and vegetables that had gone to spoil are good stuff to mix into compost. There can be other stuff, but these are first and foremost what gardeners should go after. If you want to create a healthy mix of compost, the clue is to mix in dead stuff from plants.

The Right Plants to…plant

Creating a garden isn’t just picking plants and planting them into the soil. You soil can be healthy all you want, but if you plant something that doesn’t simply like the weather conditions in your area, it won’t grow no matter how green your thumb is. Remember to plant accordingly; some vegetables thrive in colder conditions while some like warmer climates. This leads to a high yield.

Choose to go completely Organic

If you start a garden, you’re going to be relying heavily on pesticides and plant ‘food’ that have been mixed in with chemicals. The very same plants in your garden that grow in the wild don’t need to rely on that kind of stuff. You should remember that, in organic gardening, it’s either you go completely organic or you don’t start a garden at all.

Choose your Vegetables

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The final—and most important—part of organic gardening is to choose which vegetables or plant-bearing plants you’ll cultivate. You may choose carrots, squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers. But just like growing them according to weather, you grow them according to the appetite your family has. Whatever your diet, though, there’s a different kind of rush eating food you’ve grown yourself.

We are all a product of what we eat and, if we eat what we’ve grown with love, then we’re all the better for it. Consider starting an organic garden to experience a different kind of accomplishment.

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Dip into some Fun: Fun Dips that are Healthy Too

Everybody loves snacks, who doesn’t? However, those salty, crispy chips, by themselves, aren’t worth what leafy green salads and celery sticks are. There’s a compromise you can have, though; you can substitute your snack dip for something healthy. If you’d rather have a bag of chips to go for Super Bowl Sundays or even just […]

Everybody loves snacks, who doesn’t? However, those salty, crispy chips, by themselves, aren’t worth what leafy green salads and celery sticks are. There’s a compromise you can have, though; you can substitute your snack dip for something healthy.

If you’d rather have a bag of chips to go for Super Bowl Sundays or even just for kicking back, here are some healthy dip ideas to pair with your favorite snack.

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First dip: Tzatziki

This Greek dip is not too difficult to make; the only problem, however, is obtaining some of the ingredients. You have to have a thick whipped Greek Yogurt as well as fresh cucumber, dill, garlic, lemon juice, as well as salt and pepper to taste. It’s better if you have your own garden for them.

Second dip: Greek Yogurt Ranch

Another dip with a Greek ingredient in it, this is a meshing of two cultures—American and Greek. It is American because of the ranch part. Aside from your chips, this is a great dip to create for your vegetable salad as well. You only have to have garlic, onion (both powdered), as well as dill and parsley (dried), a squeeze of lemon and good ol’ salt and pepper.

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Third dip: White Bean

White bean can be grown as a rotation crop for others. When you’ve got a surplus of it, mix it together with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, among others, to create a tasty dip. Aside from the main ingredients, spice up the variety by mixing other stuff in it.

Fourth dip: Hummus

If you’re planning something kosher for that snack time, why not try batching up a super tasty hummus dip? What you need for this is to get chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Aside from those ingredients, you can add other materials to create good taste.

These are only a few options for your healthy snack time. If you’d rather have thin-sliced, deep fried potatoes—commonly known as potato chips—consider making it healthy with these dips!

As the saying goes, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Health advocates will always tell you to get in your required vegetables and fruits for the day. The problem is when you simply cannot because the grocer that sells it is simply out of the way.

There are a lot of alternatives, sure, but it’s better if you grow these fruits and vegetables on your own. If not, here’s what you can do to get your fill.

Farmer’s Markets

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Farmer’s markets are your best bet at getting fresh vegetables and fruits as if you’ve picked them from the tree. Aside from that, you’re also getting the benefit of helping a farmer’s family have food on their table. The prices are also significantly lower as well as healthier.

Ask your Friends

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There are a lot of times your friends are good for asking something; this might be one of them. If you have no idea where to buy cheaper and fresher vegetables, ask your friends, they might know something that you don’t.

Be a Farmer

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Designed by Freepik

Sometimes, the richer small farming communities have a scheme where you can volunteer your time and help in the harvest. Instead of asking for pay or anything, you can alternatively ask them if they’d pay you in produce. This is one way you can get your vegetables and fruits for free.

Start your own Home Farm

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Designed by Freepik

Even better, you can start your own organic garden! The small home farm craze is currently beginning to sweep the nation. It’s also a better alternative to creating gardens that are purely ornamental. Consult a book or read sources from the Internet to know how to properly start your home farm.

There are still a lot of ideas or places where you can get your fill of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you haven’t started yet, there’s no better time than now to get initiated on eating healthy.

Organic Love: Shopping your Way to an Organic Lifestyle

Have you ever wondered why simpler lifestyles in the country or a rural setting has supported—or spawned—longer lives and healthier people? It’s because they live off the land and have better lives than us, despite the urban setting having statistically the best chance at modest living and because they usually have lesser problems stemming from […]

Have you ever wondered why simpler lifestyles in the country or a rural setting has supported—or spawned—longer lives and healthier people? It’s because they live off the land and have better lives than us, despite the urban setting having statistically the best chance at modest living and because they usually have lesser problems stemming from the modern life to think about.

Another added asset is they probably ate off the land too. Vegetables, leafy greens, and produce—animals and dairy—off the land is what they had. Here’s how you could emulate them too.

Local Staples

The best organic replacements for processed food come from your local farmers or, better yet, your own backyard. If you can’t afford the time to grow or cultivate your own food, you can start by buying local produce like free range eggs or chicken meat as well as farm-grown vegetables and fresh fruit. It’s a form of supporting farmers as well as creating a better diet for your body.

The Fine Print

The problem sometimes with people buying products is that they rarely read the labels—particularly the ingredients. Most of the products you buy on store shelves are made to last through the use of chemicals. If you’re shifting to organics, you should learn to read labels. Have someone with you that can read or have your reading glasses with you. If you probably don’t know some of the ingredients, then it’s not organic.

Weekend Market search

Most local farms sell their wares in weekend markets. These are often out of the way and mostly set-up in the outskirts. If you’re searching for organic food, though, your best bet in buying one would be to drive up to these markets. You shouldn’t mind the extra mile if you want your fill of locally-grown food; it’s your way of supporting these farmers and their lives, after all.

Talk to your Local Farmers

Farmers are anyone who grows or takes care of food that goes to your table. If you’ve got farmers living locally, you should go out of your way and talk to them. More often than not, they’re in weekend markets and, sometimes, have stores where they sell their wares near you. If not, their products might be at the shelves of your favorite store. You’ll never know until you manage to talk to them.

Cultivate your Own

It might require a lot of time on your part, but you should start growing something—anything—in your backyard. This is helpful if your work is particularly stressful. The joy of growing something, coupled with the thrill of harvesting your own food, can be a source of relaxation for most people.

There are different ways how you can start an organic lifestyle. In the process, you’re helping people; your local farmer is a prime example. You’ll also learn a lot about plants if you plan to grow your own garden. Either way, going organic gives you the benefits of a healthier life.

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