Today we hear from Sheri Rop, owner of Nourish Organic Market as she tells us about why selling socially and environmentally responsible food is so important to Nourish.
Choosing between apples or bananas, and chicken or steak while perusing the aisles of the grocery store may seem like a matter of preference, not a morally conscious decision. Or perhaps we choose not to think about the food we buy because we want to buy that banana but we don’t want to think about how a tropical fruit is being sold so cheaply in a Michigan grocery store.
What are some of the moral dilemmas surrounding our food choices? The carbon footprint of buying food grown halfway across the world, unfair working conditions of field laborers, ingesting foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, monocropping, the horrendous conditions for animals in factory farms and the list goes on.
Eating environmentally and socially responsible food is met with many barriers. It’s expensive, it’s hard to find, and figuring out which food actually is the responsible choice is a daunting task. The employees at Nourish spend every day researching foods that can be sold in the store. Each product must meet environmental standards, social standards, and health quality standards in order for Nourish to put it on their shelves. They do the food history homework for the customer.
Nourish sells organic, grassfed and pastured foods along with seasonal vegetables and other foods produced by local farmers, bakers and food artisans. “No we don’t carry all-natural foods, because [that] means nothing,” said Rop recognizing that the lingo surrounding healthy, organic food is mostly devoid of meaning these days. Terms such as “organic” and “free range” are adding to the noise of the food industry rather than being helpful. People end up buying food that has a healthy aura around it that isn’t actually represented in the product itself.
“We have a really strong agenda of things we want to happen that we think will help more people become aware of how important soil, food, and protecting the [environment] is,” said Sheri. A big part of this agenda is buying and selling local produce and meat so that people can visit the farms themselves if they want and it keeps money flowing in our own community.
Produce sold at the store is pesticide and herbicide free because “what part of putting poison on our food sounds like a good idea?” asks Rop. The meat sold at Nourish comes from healthy animals that lived in humane conditions. Each slice of bacon comes from a happy pig so that you can have your bacon and eat it too.
You can visit Nourish at 634 Wealthy St. SE and find out more about the products and passions of the store at the Nourish website.
Listen to this episode of A Watershed Moment online.
“A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life. Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Tuesdays at 8:30am and 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.