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Organic food stores promise bright future to Chicago farmers

By Fredrick Obura | April 22nd 2014

By Fredrick Obura in Chicago

Chicago: Growing demand for organic foods is creating a new concept of business in the Midwest City of Chicago.

Local food chain stores are expanding their relationship with farmers and food artisans in the region to bring their fresh, organic, and wholesome products to Chicagoland and make them available to consumers seven days a week.

“Food is a disaster in this country, consumers around Chicago want to be sure that the products they are consuming are fresh and grown in a proper way without much chemicals,” says Courtney Nulicek, a buyer at my urban orchard.

“We work with farmers from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana to bring their products to consumers in Chicagoland, the close working relationship helps ensure our consumers get right foods on their table,” she says in an interview.

Urban Orchard works with between 14 to 40 farmers and carry products from Midwest businesses such as the Hardin Farms, Twin Garden Farms, Dotson’s Farm, Milo’s Farm – Free range Eggs, Circle Q7 Ranch – Grassfed Beef, and Specialty Pasta – Fresh Pasta. She says the new concept supports sustainable and organic farming which basically strive to keep carbon footprint small and the quality of products high.

“But I think also we are gaining popularity with farmers as we offer ready market for their produce, we keep prices competitive making farming attractive to them.” The organic food industry has consistently seen sales increase, rising from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010.

According to the Organic Trade Association, 78 percent of American families purchase organic foods. This percentage is steadily increasing as more consumers are becoming aware of the many health benefits conferred by organic foods. Many consumers choose organic produce because they desire to lower their exposure to the pesticides found on commercial produce like in the Genetically Modified Foods.

Certified organic produce is free from pesticide residues. A 2008 study published in "Environmental Health Perspectives" revealed a majority of organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure in humans comes from dietary intake. When commercial produce was replaced with organic produce, pesticide exposure was reduced significantly.

Among other concerns, OP pesticide exposure has been shown to contribute to deficiencies in neurodevelopment, becoming a factor in autism, ADHD and other neurological impairments in developing children.


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