"It's all good, right? The answer to that question is: it depends! When it's summertime, you can count on sighting hand-lettered signs advertising fresh local produce sold from stands on less traveled roads. Or you can find fresh local corn, berries and flowers at the farmers' markets on Saturday mornings. Everyone wants to help the local farmer make a living, but does local mean organic? Not necessarily. All ""local"" means is that your produce was grown in the nearby area. It's possible that the farmer used pesticides on the fields. Theoretically, he could have even introduced GMO's - genetically modified organisms -- to defeat pests or improve the appearance of the fruits or vegetables. Or if you are shopping for local cheese, the dairy farmer may have administered growth-enhancing hormones to the cows or goats. The truth is you don't know exactly which methods-synthetic or otherwise-that the farmer employed. All you know is that your end product was grown or created locally. On the other hand, organic is a standard not easily achieved. In order for a farmer to label a product as organic, certain guidelines must be stringently applied. For example, farm land must be certified chemical-free for at least three years before the end product may be categorized as organic. To be termed organic, a dairy farm must provide its cattle access to the outdoors so the animals can wander and graze as nature intended. Antibiotics and hormones are not allowed either. If you want to know for sure a product is free of chemicals, hormones and genetic modification, look for the word ""organic."" A lot of assurance is packed into that three-syllable word. If you see a label that combines ""organic"" and ""local"", you've found the best of both worlds! Local organic farmers work hard to deliver high quality, healthy products that you can trust."