Trying to eat a healthy, balanced diet without compromising on flavor? Choosing locally grown and raised foods helps you achieve both. Plus, there are other benefits to eating local. Here are our top five reasons to choose local foods over others.
1. As Fresh as it Gets
One of the biggest benefits of eating local food is freshness. Buying from local suppliers means you can be sure that your food has not spent days or weeks sitting in a warehouse on a different continent waiting to be shipped. None of its nutritional goodness was lost in transit either.
Locally grown fruits and veggies had a chance to ripen on the plant, eliminating the need for chemically enhanced ripening processes later on.
2. Promotes Variety and Seasonal Eating
If you choose your food based on what is growing locally, you will naturally eat a more seasonal diet that helps you access a variety of foods around the year. Granted, it’s convenient to pick up your favorite veggies or exotic fruit at a supermarket year-round.
But fresh, local food delivers so much more in flavor and nutrients. Plus, by shopping more seasonally, you start to discover new foods and will soon create new favorite dishes.
3. Supports the Environment
The distance your food has to travel between being produced and being on your plate is known as a food mile. The more food miles produced accumulate, the larger its carbon footprint will be.
Buying locally grown produce or locally raised meat minimizes the number of food miles and the environmental impact your food has. Whilst we may still have some way to go to zero-carbon eating, shopping locally lets you get closer to that goal.
4. Supports your Local Farming Community
Buying locally grown foods helps support your local farming community. Shopping at farmer’s markets allows you to get to know the people behind the products. Rather than picking something off a shelf in a large store, you can talk to the producer directly and learn more about the food you eat.
Local farmers benefit from being able to sell directly to their customers and avoid paying a middleman. Shopping locally and seasonally makes a direct impact on the community around you, creating stronger connections and helping small businesses thrive.
5. Promotes Food Safety
Don’t get us wrong, we’re saying that supermarket-bought fruit, vegetables, and other products are unsafe. However, if you’re buying directly from the producer, you benefit by knowing where your food comes from.
If you need more information about how your produce has been grown and how best to prepare it, who better to ask than the people who grew it? Mass-produced food needs to be treated to make it through lengthy transport times without getting damaged or going off. Locally produced food has a much shorter journey from production to consumer, minimizing the need for any additional treatment.
Not everyone has the benefit of having a fully-stocked farmers market at their doorstep. But paying more attention to where your food comes from is a great first step toward making more local choices.