Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables and conventionally raised livestock can be harmful to both humans and the environment.

Industrial agriculture and livestock production involve the use of many dangerous substances that consumers should avoid. Factory farmed animals, for example, eat pesticide-filled, genetically modified grains and are fed hormones and antibiotics to make them grow larger. They are allowed to eat animal feces, plastic filler, candy, and toxic chemicals. These substances degrade the nutritional content of the meat and can be dangerous to human health. Consumers should eat meat and dairy from grass-fed, organically raised cows, and poultry and eggs that are organic. Eating organic vegetables allows consumers to avoid harmful pesticides and ensures optimal nutrient content. Buying local is another way to make sure food is uncontaminated. If consumers know their farmer, they have more reason to trust food’s origins. In a 2017 article in Civil Eats, Katherine Standefer lays out several ways in which eating locally is an important political act.

Buying locally keeps money in one’s own community, strengthening that locality while depriving wealthy food corporations of support for practices that destroy nature and public health. Furthermore, seeing the same faces week after week at the farmer’s market, interacting regularly with flesh-and-bone bodies as opposed to digital profile pictures, is crucial to true community building. The better connected neighbors are, the better that locality is able to band together to protect itself. Consuming natural, local, unadulterated food is the way to both a healthier body and healthier society. (Food by Mark Hyman)

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