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Green Choices: Produce Buyer’s Guide

At the farmers’ market, or the supermarket, what do those labels mean?

The greenest choice for produce? Grow your own or buy organic produce from local farmers. But if you can’t do that, consider choosing foods with the following labels.

 

Biodynamic

BiodynamicBiodynamic is one of several farming practices that take the basics of organic farming a step further and look at a farm as a self-sustaining organism that thrives on the integration of crops and livestock, recycling of nutrients, maintenance of soil, and the well-being of entire ecosystems and communities. One of the best-known, Biodynamic is one of the few that is labeled and certified.

Health benefits: The same as organic.

Eco-benefits: Everything from water collection and runoff to distribution is done following the best practices for sustainability. A 1993 study of 16 farms in New Zealand showed the Demeter-certified biodynamic farms to be equally productive but to have much higher soil quality than their conventional counterparts.

Is it regulated? Yes, by the independent Demeter Association.

Keep in mind: Biodynamic principles extend to distribution (which is primarily local) so products are usually available only through co-ops, CSAs and farmers’ markets.

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