A sustainable and local food system is foundational to the health of the people, land and economy. The Cleveland-area local food economy is strong and growing. In 2012, winter farmers' markets grew from six to 12. Further, the City and organizations have fostered many sustainability and urban farming initiatives.
Many strive to continue the Cleveland local food movement. Unfortunately, public nutrition programs and political advocacy is weak regarding the evidence-based findings that link America's disease crisis including diabetes, obesity, autism and cancer to the ever-increasing toxicity of conventional food, manufactured goods(including plastics) and the environment. Cutting-edge evidence reveals the need for organic, sustainable and local food systems in all settings.
Medical institutions including American Cancer Society, Cleveland Clinic and Kaiser Permanente mention benefits of farmers' markets in communities, and emphasize a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. That said, their position is that the difference in toxicity between conventional- and organic food is insignificant, and pesticide intake from conventional food isn't linked to disease. This involves a conflict: A core conviction of organic farmers is that their occupation is essential for optimal nutrition, low toxicity, conscientiousness and justice. The following evidence (which is introductory) relates the adverse consequences of conventional farming, and benefits linked to organic, sustainable farming.
- Toxins including PCBs and dioxins are "inadvertently" produced in pesticide(conventional pesticide) production. Intentional production of these toxins is illegal in the U.S.
- Pesticides are neurotoxins by design, persist in the environment for many years, fat-soluble and accumulate in conventional animal products, especially high-fat items including butter and farmed salmon. Certain conventional produce items have high pesticide levels, also.
- Children face unsafe toxicity in typical conventional food consumption which is linked to learning/developmental disorders including autism.
- Pesticides impair metabolism and promote diabetes. Good news: Type 2 diabetes has been reversed with dietary support for detoxification. Organic food supports detoxification. Harm linked to pollutants is buffered in sound nutrition.
- Studies reflect greater nutrient profiles in organic versus conventional food.
In consideration of this cutting-edge evidence, foundational health promotion includes respect for nature, low environmental toxicity and healthful public policies. In Cleveland's context, the call to effective action includes investment of our food dollars into local, sustainable farming and advocacy for public and private policies in consideration of the evidence. The solution for Cleveland's blight includes the sustainable and local food movement.