How New Farming Methods are Increasing Access to Health Foods

Contrary to popular belief, most people will choose healthy, juicy fruits over chocolate and want to eat better. Sometimes, it can be impossible in certain communities where agriculture is not maintained and preserved; or even worse, nonexistent. There is a lot of work involved in food production, including growing and harvesting the fruits and vegetables, and keeping them safe from hungry predators. Luckily, there are people working to help agriculture continue to grow and increase the average person’s access to healthy foods. 

The Maintenance and Preservation of Agricultural Land 

The first important thing to do is to make sure our current methods of producing food are well taken care of and regulated. Preserving food production in already dedicated areas will help save resources that can be used to create new land ready for agriculture. Some regions have an abundance of agricultural land, while certain developed areas make the space limited and are not cost effective. The human race continues to steadily grow, causing more development to take place; the first step is to preserve the agricultural land we have from development to keep food production growing just as steady to keep supporting the population.  

Increasing Food Production 

Although a large portion of available land for agricultural needs have already been developed as farms or cities, there is still plenty of land up for grabs to be produced into even more agricultural industries. There are abandoned lots, rooftops, and other miscellaneous buildings throughout both rural and suburban areas that can be used for further agricultural development that currently are not being used for anything but taking up space and rotting. Utilizing these abandoned areas can provide plenty of opportunities for local food production and promote healthy eating even in the big cities where most people stop into quick, fast food joints. 

Protect the Pollinators 

Although we have plenty of regulated food production by working farmers, pollinators still play a huge role in food production. When a pollinator comes in contact with your fruits and vegetables, upon leaving they are a necessity to help plants outside of your farm reproduce and aid in the growth of other fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the populations of pollinators, especially bees, are constantly in decline, making plant growth outside of the regulated farms to decrease in quantity and quality. In recent years, many people have taken it upon themselves to become beekeepers to help breed more pollinators in their declining numbers, as well as farmers utilizing better land practices in their farming methods. This includes minimizing chemicals used that are harmful to the pollinators, as well as farming on several different types of properties to help encourage native plants outside of their own farms; this helps support keeping the existing pollinators healthy. 

There are plenty of different methods farmers have thought of and even are beginning to utilize in their daily practice to help the general population continue to be stocked with healthy, amazing food. The development of these three methods so far have and will produce the greatest difference in providing healthy food to the general public. 

How Grocers are Marketing Organic Products—And Increasing Sales 

Organic products have been skyrocketing in popularity over the past several years, and is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Sales for organic products currently account for $52.5 billion, a figure which continues to rise. Once only available in local specialty shops or retailers like Whole Foods, many regular grocery stores have now have devoted a significant amount of shelf space to these products. But marketing organic products does require a different approach. 

Identify Your Customer 

 The consumer who buys organic products is not the same as the consumer who is shopping for regular items in your store. Although many people will occasionally opt for organic products when given a choice, the customer who values organic foods will typically be very health-conscious. According to Consumer Reports, organic food can cost an average of 45-50% more than a similar non-organic product. Therefore, the organic shopper will almost always usually have a higher grocery budget, and won’t hesitate to spend it when they feel it is necessary. They also value quality, however. They have high expectations about how a product will taste and how it will affect their health, and when they find something they like, they are quite loyal. For many parents, buying organic is important to the wellbeing of their children. Studies have shown that eight out of ten families in the United States have purchased organic foods at least once in the past two years. That’s a lot of potential customers! 

Presentation is Key 

Buying organic products can feel like a luxury, and they should be positioned as such in your store. Many grocers tend to group popular organic items together in a “Healthy Shoppers” aisle, which not only helps your customers quickly hone in on what they’re looking for, but it makes them feel recognized and special. Display unique signage when marketing organic products that calls to mind nature and healthy activities, both of which are important to this type of consumer. Make samples available when possible, as many like to try products out before they pay a premium price for them. For kid-related items, position them at eye-level for children and market them together with similar items for maximum sales.  

Market Wisely 

In order to draw more customers into your store to buy these products, devote space in your sales flyer to new and exciting organic products, or consider creating a supplemental brochure that focuses solely on those items! This is also a great way to educate your shoppers on the benefits of organic products and entice them to come to your store for a purchase. Social media is also a valuable resource to market to the healthy consumer. 
There are so many ways things to consider when marketing organic products to your customers, but given the increasing sales potential of these products, implementing these strategies in your store is sure to pay dividends. 

Using Festivals & Aggregators to Scour Farmer’s Markets

We are obviously big fans of farmer’s markets and local and community driven agriculture. As are many of us. The downside of this new trend, especially in cities, is that inventory can go fast. For the sellers, they can charge an almost unlimited amount for their wares when they can find a big enough audience. But we are all tired of getting up earlier than we prefer on a weekend and still missing the one thing that you rose so early to nab.

This article may be very obvious to many of you, but we wanted to share the little tricks that we do that are far from perfect, but can sometimes help us to avoid heartache and end up with more swiss chard than we want.

This is an old story, but a long while ago before they leveled up their production, we used to chase farmer’s markets every month looking for Merf’s Electric Lime hot sauce. And sometime between those days and today, where you can just find a store on their website, we used to comb various farmer’s markets and food festival websites, looking for another place if we happen to miss it.

Nearly every festival and farmer’s market has a website or app now. They usually list who is going to show, and if you are really on the ball, write to this group and see what they are bringing.

Another spot where we have been particularly successful when it comes to fresh seafood is using aggregators. My husband is from Maine and we had been hunting for ways to get fresh lobster that didn’t involve hassling his old friends and relatives and sometimes not ending up with the best result. In our attempts to buy lobster online for a surf and turf party, we found Quality Seafood Delivery. They aggregate companies who ship fresh seafood, such as lobster, salmon, crab, crawfish, halibut, and smoked salmon. They are free to use, and while they

It’s important to note today that the world has figured out ecommerce better than even four years ago, and you can mostly buy direct and skip the festival or market once someone is established, but until they are established these are the methods that reduce our frustration and FOMO.

How Eating Seasonal Produce and Impact Your Health

Modern agriculture and food processing techniques have made most foods available year-round. This means we have a variety of foods at our fingertips nearly all the time – asparagus in November and honey crisp apples in January. However, this means we forget that food availability is supposed to change with the seasons. Even though new developments make it possible to eat tomatoes with Christmas dinner, that doesn’t mean we should do it. In fact, eating seasonally has several health benefits. Here’s what you need to know.

What Does the Science Say?

According to multiple studies, nutrient content changes in foods depending on the seasons in which they are produced. For example, a study conducted by the U.K. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food found that nutrient content in milk differed depending on whether it was harvested in summer versus winter. This is because the cow’s diet changes. They eat fewer fresh vegetables in winter, and so the nutrient makeup of that milk was less robust. Similarly, Japanese researchers found a big difference in the nutritional content of spinach harvested in the summer versus during winter.

What’s more, eating foods in seasons when they are not grown means you are likely ingesting additional pesticides, waxes, and other types of preservatives. Plus, the longer produce sits on the shelf, the more nutrients and antioxidants they lose. Spinach and green beans can lose up to 66% of their vitamin C within a week of harvest.

Basically, eating seasonally ensures you get all the health benefits and nutrients of the foods you are eating. They taste better, look better, and are better for you.

Additional Benefits

Eating in-season produce is great for everyone involved in the food production — not just you, the consumer. Eating locally supports local farmers who choose to farm sustainably, propping up the industry working against factory farming and industrial agriculture. To this end, it helps preserve the environment, an increasingly important factor for many.

Plus, it’s just better. You’ll have more variety of foods in your diet, and you’ll get to experiment with fruits and vegetables you might be unfamiliar with. Seasonal foods are also often cheaper to produce and buy, meaning your doctor, your farmer, and your wallet will thank you.