The 7 Best Cities For Organic Food
For good reasons, organic food has officially become a healthy long-term “trend.” Some people, though, have been eating organic for decades and many more put a lot of effort into living an organic lifestyle every single day, not just when eating at locavore restaurants (where the food served is grown locally) and shopping at specialty food stores. Their efforts, lifestyle, and commitment to healthy living have helped create remarkable cities, towns, and communities. Of course, to be a truly great organic community, a town must be livable as well as delicious.
So here you have it! We compiled a list of the SEVEN BEST CITIES in the U.S. for eating organically every day, some that are probably obvious and some, well, not so much.
1. Portland, Oregon
Portland’s reputation as an organic food hub even helped inspire the TV show “Portlandia.” Well, perhaps we should say contribute to the great humor in the show. Hey, few things are hipper in Portland than being organic and eco-friendly and the city offers everything from organic beer to organic food carts. Portland’s organic co-op, New Season’s Market, is one of the most successful in the country and there are literally dozens of farm-to-table restaurants within the city limits including the famous "Higgins".
2. Austin, Texas
Austin has recently emerged as a beacon of progressiveness in an otherwise staunchly traditional food region. As the home base of organic retailer Whole Foods, Austin actually has roots in organic food that way predate the chain. Boggy Creek Farm hosts a weekly urban organic produce market and there are over fifteen artisan foodmakers in Austin. It's also a great city for music, with the annual SXSW Music Festival occuring every spring. We think its awesome that some of the incredible musicians as well as the starving artists who live or perform here can at least consume healthy organic foods year-round in this great city.
3. San Francisco, California
Of course, California as a whole has a lot of organic-friendly cities, but San Fran tops them all. The Rainbow Grocery Food Co-Op in the Mission District is one of the preeminent organic markets in the country and the organic food lovers MeetUp groups in San Fran are over a dozen strong. With literally hundreds of restaurants offering not only farm-to-table food but more specifically “non-GMO” and “vegan” menus, San Francisco is one of the greatest vegan cities anywhere, and an organic foodie’s paradise. We can all argue over who has the best restaurants in the US (New York, Chicago, New Orleans, etc.), but when it comes to organic cities, San Fran takes the Non-GMO cake.
4. Denver, Colorado
We readily concede the state of Colorado is a one of the best places in the country for organics, with Boulder in particular being a wonderful, livable city worthy of top seven designation. But Denver’s actually developed quite a reputation as a healthy-food mecca, and the city’s all about “green” initiatives. Mile High Organics food delivery service was founded here and the Corner Store organic food market has been in business for years. With better weather than you’d expect for growing tons of organic food just miles outside the urban center of the city, Denver is up and coming. But they need to watch out! Boulder, Ft. Collins, and other Colorado cities are up there, too.
5. Athens, Georgia
Sure, they grow exceptional music in Athens, with bands like REM, the B-52s, and Widespread Panic having their organic roots in this town. But the food is exceptional, too. There are over 30 chemical-free farms within 50 miles of Athens and the liberal arts scene in town has inspired dozens of new organic-friendly restaurants like The Grit and Farm 225. Local University of Georgia might be known for college football, but they have an exceptional College of Agricultural that actually offers a Certificate Program in Organic Agriculture. We think their Organic Ag slogan "Think Dirty" is fun, and appreciate that the students and grads alike are pouring that knowledge back into the community.
6. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Unlike the hit TV series that was filmed here, it's not all Breaking Bad in Albuquerque. People in Albuquerque are surprisingly organic-friendly and restaurants here are experiencing a surge of locavore requests. With many of the area’s farms, such as family-run Skarsgard Farms, offering co-op and at-home delivery of organic produce, people in Albuquerque are getting on board. The Flying Star Cafe, one of Albuquerque’s most popular restaurants, serves food with no MSG, added transfats, preservatives, or artificial flavors, and was highly rated by the environmental news website, Mother Nature Network, to boot.
7. Minneapolis, Minnesota
The cold climate of Minnesota hasn’t stopped Minneapolis from becoming an organic food mecca. With a focus on organic meats and poultry, Minneapolis residents also enjoy participation in local co-op “The Wedge” as well as a number of monthly Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) programs where both consumers and growers share the risks and rewards of organic food production. There are a number of vegan and organic eateries in town and even a totally organic ice cream shop called Pumphouse Creamery. Yummy!
Living in a city with proximity to farms obviously increases your chances of enjoying year-round organic produce. A totally organic lifestyle involves not only organic meat and produce, however, but organic grains, baby food, and even organic products like paper towels and cleaning supplies. If your city hasn’t yet caught up to the organic movement it’s relatively easy to find what you need online, but don’t stop there. Talk to the purveyors of your favorite restaurants and the manager at your local grocery store about offering more organic options. You never know what might take off.
These seven organic-friendly cities are on the cutting edge of organic food but dozens more aren’t far behind. It won’t be long before organic eating isn’t just a long-term trend, it’s the norm, and that means a healthier, more eco-conscious America for everyone.