Our relationships with food are always changing, and one thing is for sure, organic and healthy food choices are becoming more popular every day. The new year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting times for nutritious and tasty foods. Take a look at our organic food trend predictions for 2011.

Local foods get even closer to home in 2011

Photo: Peter Blanchard

Superlocal: The number of farmers markets, community supported agriculture programs, rooftop gardens and local beekeeping operations have become a full-on food movement, and don’t show any signs of slowing down. Indoor gardens, vertical gardens and traditional backyard gardens are also cropping up more and more, and we think you’ll see a super-localized focus explored in restaurants, grocery stores and kitchens across the country. What’s happening in your immediate neighborhood that’s both nutritious and delicious? Probably a whole lot more than you think.

social eating more common in 2011

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography

Social Eating: Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have inspired us to connect in new and exciting ways, including shutting down the computer and taking our connections offline and onplate. With the trend towards superlocal foods on the rise, community eating is also going to be a huge trend in 2011. We don’t just mean more dinners with family and friends, but community supported kitchens, potlucks and those long, savored meals a la the French Paradigm, where people enjoy spending time with each other, and lots of great food stretching for hours.

Organic fruit will be more popular than ever in 2011

Photo: All About George

Organic Fruit: We’ve documented some startling news in the fruit world in 2010 here on Organic Authority. From the possibility of GM apples and oranges, to toxic pesticides now approved for use on California strawberries, be on the lookout for organic fruits at your local markets and restaurants. Organic fruits can’t be genetically modified or contain any pesticides and they taste better than most conventional options, too.

Home canning and preserving trending strong for 2011

Photo: TheBittenWord.com

Home Canning and Preserving: With the move toward growing locally and wild foraging for food, you may find you actually have a lot more yummy goodness available than imagined. Who would let these great juicy gifts go to waste? Exactly. Home preserving, pickling and canning is easy, inexpensive, tasty and healthy. We predict it will be a huge trend in 2011 and onward through the decade.

Medicinal mushrooms and herbs accent 2011's food trends

Photo: Zormasa

Medicinal Foods: Threats from food poisoning to flu strains can cause fears and concerns over our food safety, even with the passing of the new Food Safety Bill. Immune boosting foods such as super mushrooms like reishi, shitake and maitake; and superherbs and vitamin and mineral-rich superfoods like chocolate, which improve energy, sex drive, immune function and mood will tickle taste buds in 2011.

Vegan goes mainstream in 2011

Photo: VeganBaking.net

Vegan: Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson and even Disney World have been embracing the diet that omits animal products. With crowded and disease-filled factory farms and food poisoning incidents on the rise, there are more reasons than ever to eat a vegan diet than just the delicious and healthy array of legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Even birds love wild oregano

Photo: Eye of Einstein

Foraging: Research has shown that just 5 minutes in nature can boost mood and have a relaxing effect. Wild foods you may find on a calming nature hike like berries, mushrooms, ramps, herbs, greens, avocadoes, and all sorts of fruits (especially in Hawaii!), can be more nutritious for you than foods grown on farms. Wild soil is often healthier than farmed soil, adding vital nutrients. Oh yeah, and wild foods won’t cost you a thing!

sugar will replace high fructose corn syrup in 2011

Photo: Uwe Herman

Sugar is Sweet: It’s perhaps no coincidence that high fructose corn syrup has been commonly shortened to a four-letter word. The Corn Refiners Industry responsible for marketing HFCS has tried to shake its bad rap this year by changing the name to ‘corn sugar.’ But who are they fooling? Responding to demand, sodas have been replacing HFCS with real sugar and we think that’s just the tip of the iceberg, er, sugarcube. Still, practice moderation with sweets, natural or otherwise.

iPhone apps will reinvent food relationships in 2011

Photo: Jill Ettinger

Food Apps: Do you find it a little annoying that your cell phone is probably smarter than you? The plus side is that as we get used to pocket-sized Einsteins ruling our lives, there really is a lot to take advantage of. Have yourself at least one food app from restaurant finders and reviews to recipes, ingredient explanations (what is maltodextrin, really?), recipe suggestions (great when you’ve got more wild berries than you know what to do with) and supermarket special deals available only through smart phones.

Comfort foods return in 2011

Photo: Miikkah

Americana Revisited: Comfort foods are more than just reminders of home. They can actually be some of our healthiest options when we go with the made-from-scratch — even if it’s sweets like cookies and pies and fresh-squeezed lemonade — which we think you’ll be seeing a lot of in 2011. Simple dishes like Grandma’s meat and potatoes will get some creative Americana love vegan-style this year, too.

 Stay in touch with Jill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillettinger