FEATURE — January 9, 2020 at 1:23 pm

Local, sustainable companies and farms increase in popularity in Parkland

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Super Sellers. Local businesses set up tents to sell their products at the Parkland Farmer’s Market on scheduled Sundays from November to April. Photo by Einav Cohen
Super Sellers. Local businesses set up tents to sell their products at the Parkland Farmer’s Market on scheduled Sundays from November to April. Photo by Einav Cohen

People are always looking for the next new diet that will lead to weight loss or provide incredible health benefits. Diets and lifestyles gain popularity in waves, with many hopping on the trend that is prominent in the media. Recently, there has been a significant rise in the number of people who eat local, organic and sustainable foods.

Living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle is highly praised by Generation Z. Videos, posts and pictures of users sharing their sustainable meals have grown in popularity on a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Many are strong advocates of eating foods that come directly from a farm without going through any regulation via store or market along the way. This ideology is known as the farm-to-table movement and it has expanded into the Parkland and Coral Springs communities. 

Many believe it is both healthier for the environment and for one’s individual health to eat locally, including local honey business Lip SMAKin’ Good Honey. This company is run by beekeepers whose goal is to bring raw, unfiltered honey to South Florida communities via farmer’s markets in Parkland, Coral Springs, Plantation and other neighboring areas. 

“In this day and age we eat and drink a lot of chemicals, a lot of artificial colors and flavors and preservatives,” Lip SMAKin’ Good Honey employee Jill Kareff said. “If you buy raw, unfiltered, natural honey you just get the real thing, and it’s good for you, and it tastes good too.”

Lip SMAKin’ Good Honey claims to have the best tasting and highest quality honey because their products are fresh, unlike the honey found on the shelves in chain grocery stores. They also sell their products nationwide through their online store with the hopes of reaching more people who will shift to a more organic diet as a result. 

Similarly, local and organic company Organic Grown Direct delivers farm-grown products to customers. They take pride in the delivery of seasonal fruits and vegetables as a 100% USDA certified organic business. They deliver to families all around South Florida, ranging from Jupiter to Miami.

The owner of Organic Grown Direct, who refused to give his full name, goes by the nickname “Organic Mark” and is the friendly face that greets customers at local markets.

“It’s really important to eat organic if you want to be healthy,” Organic Mark said. 

Organic Mark and employees of Organic Grown Direct are strong advocates of repealing the Monsanto Protection Act in order to support GMO labeling. The Monsanto Protection Act prevents federal courts from stopping the sale of GMO products even if testing proves it is dangerous for human health. 

Organic Grown Direct is proud to be healthy and beneficial for the South Florida community as a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, business. CSA’s such as Organic Grown Direct share the goal of providing fresh foods for their local community.

However, businesses and companies are not the only ones who preach the benefits of eating locally.

Senior Alex Du has eaten only organic, local goods since he was in eighth grade. His parents believe there are significant health benefits to eating locally and Du has eaten sustainably ever since. He claims to see the benefits himself too and encourages his peers to try it out for themselves.

“I think there are some benefits to it so I would encourage [eating organically and sustainable],” Du said. “I don’t think it’s more difficult at all.”

Many students who eat organically attend the local Parkland Farmer’s Market to get fresh, local and organic foods. 

For example, local farmers from BioFarm Organics attend the Parkland Farmers Market biweekly to sell fresh food to the community. They cultivate a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as raise a diverse selection of livestock such as turkeys and chickens. They also cultivate bees for honey production.

“It’s about eating right… all organic, no medication, no antibiotics,” BioFarm Organics founder Enoque Diaz said. 

BioFarm Organic employees monitor and manage what their livestock eat in order to provide the freshest and healthiest outcomes for customers. Flocks are fed fresh grass as well as organic, non-GMO protein that varies depending on the size and weight of the individual livestock. 

“We are the ones who raised them. We are the ones who did all the work, so we know what they eat,” Diaz said.

Not only do BioFarm Organics focus in on the diet of livestock, but they are also passionate about treating farmland with respect. As holistic management advocates, they use less artificial products and instead rely on the land and animals to preserve the vitality of the farmland. This land management techniques also allows the soil to hold more water, increase microbe activity and produce more organic matter. 

The rise of local and organic companies in South Florida has positively impacted many in the community. People are getting more eager to explore a sustainable lifestyle and diet that benefits their health, the local economy and the environment.

This story was originally published in the December 2019 Eagle Eye print edition.

Katrina White

Katrina White is an editor and staff writer for The Eagle Eye newspaper. She is a competitive swimmer and dedicated student with a love for dogs.

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