This country needs to do more to support local, organic farmers. This has been a mantra of mine at Natural Healthcare Center, on my By Design radio show, during my Wellness at Work seminars, and here on my blog. Maybe somebody in Washington heard my plea.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it has awarded $52 million in grants to support the growing organic farming industry and local and regional food systems, all of which are largely driven by local farmers and farmers markets.
Why is this happening? Because you demanded it.
The government finally recognized the fact that we want to know where and how our food is grown, and who’s growing it. We recognize how much healthier organically grown foods are, and we don’t want to put harmful substances in our bodies.
We also want to support the local farmers who create jobs for our family members, friends and neighbors. We understand the value of shopping local and want to keep that money in our local economy where it can do the most good.
The problem has always been that the system is built for major commercial farms and growers that use large-scale distribution centers to get their products in grocery stores and restaurants. Not only have local farmers struggled to market their products, but grocery stores and restaurants didn’t have systems in place to integrate the smaller volumes of produce from local farmers.
As a result, local farmers have focused their distribution on farmers markets, which have increased in number by 76 percent since 2008.
The USDA created a website to help us find local farmers markets and will budget $30 million each year towards the marketing and promotion of farmers markets and locally grown foods. The organic industry will also receive $125 million for research during the next five years and $50 million for conservation programs.
There are two key takeaways from this long overdue announcement from the USDA.
First, this will dramatically improve access to fresh, healthy foods in our local communities and across the country. Greater access means fewer excuses to put unhealthy substances into our bodies – substances that have helped to create the chronic disease epidemic in our country.
Seconds, this is proof that you can make a difference by standing up and saying, “Enough is enough!”
Our society is much more informed than it was 40 or 50 years ago. We know that natural, organic foods will keep us healthy, while the manmade ingredients that pollute our food supply will eventually kill us.
We’ve begun to take a stand. Our voices are being heard.
Now that our elected leaders are doing something about it, we need to do something about it every day. Let’s commit to making smarter choices and living a wellness lifestyle so we can feel better, function better and live longer.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.