Local is Best: The Many Benefits of Eating Local
Eating local has become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason. When you eat food that is grown and produced near your home, you and your community are reaping a number of great benefits. From fresher, nutrient-dense produce to a reduced carbon footprint, the advantages of eating locally are vast, but there is no doubt that this commitment does come with a few challenges. Let’s look at the pros and cons together.
The Benefits of Eating Local
There are a number of benefits that come with choosing to eat food that is local to your area, so let’s start there.
1. It’s More Nutritious
Eating locally-produced foods ensures you get as many nutrients as possible. This is because the time between harvest and reaching your table is considerably shorter than food transported across state or even country lines. And, this leads to the next benefit…
2. You Enjoy Flavorful Meals
Fresh is best! That is the simple explanation for why dishes prepared with locally grown foods are more flavorful. This is because foods that are grown in your area are harvested and then quickly sold, which means you are getting the freshest option available. The rich flavors and textures of all your favorite produce will be more pronounced and enjoyable because of this.
3. It’s Great for the Environment
It’s safe to say that many people are satisfied with whatever produce they can get at the grocery store; however, this often means that people are buying foods that have traveled long distances before landing on the shelves of the local grocery store. The transportation of these food items causes them to have a large carbon footprint, which is harmful to our beautiful planet. Eating local allows you to reduce your own carbon footprint by choosing foods that don’t require large amounts of fossil fuels to transport. Plus, locally produced foods often don’t require the same packaging or refrigeration that other items might, which makes them that much more environmentally friendly.
4. It Supports the Local Economy
There are few things as satisfying as supporting local businesses. By 2019, there were about 8771 farmers’ markets across the US, with the number expected to grow. Eating local is a great way of supporting local farmers, greengrocers, delivery staff, and many more small, locally-owned operations. As you support local businesses, this also means you will enjoy great prices, fresh foods, and amazing relationships with local entrepreneurs.
5. Enjoy Safe and Transparent Supply
The beauty of purchasing foods from the farmer’s market, or directly from a farm in your area, is that the farmers you are buying from will be open to discussing their products and processes with you. This means you can learn more about where your food comes from and if chemicals or preservatives were used during the growing process.
The Challenges of Eating Local
Of course, every list of pros is accompanied by a few cons. Here are the challenges you may face when you choose to eat locally-produced food.
1. Seasonal Products
We cannot run away from the fact that most fruits and vegetables are seasonal. This means that they grow during different weather seasons and in different localities. Why is this a challenge? You may live in a state that does not grow, say, pineapples. This means that you won’t be able to buy a pineapple at your local farmers’ market. Of course, you can still pick it up at your local grocery store, but if you are dedicated to eating only local produce, you may have to adjust your diet to accommodate the fact that pineapple isn’t widely available to you.
2. Local Foods May Be Expensive
Usually, foods that are locally grown and sold at a farmer’s market are more affordable, but that isn’t always the case. If farmers in your area decide to grow specialty crops (those not in season or are not normally able to be grown in your region), they will spend more to make it happen. Unfortunately, they will sell the produce at a slightly higher price. However, having specialty farmers in your area isn’t always a bad thing. After all, it means you may still be able to get your favorite fruit even if it’s not normally grown in your region.
Tips to Enjoy Local Foods
As you can see, the pros of eating local far outweigh the cons. So, if you’re convinced to fill your fridge with locally grown fruits and vegetables, then use these tips to help you make the most of it.
Grow Your Food
If you have the time and energy for gardening, starting a vegetable garden at home may be one of the best ways to enjoy eating locally. You get to spend some time outside, get in a little exercise, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you do not know where to start, contact local authorities tasked with agricultural projects, such as a local nursery or garden club. They will guide you on what type of foods grow in a particular region or season, the best type of soil to use, and give you tips on how to keep your garden vibrant. Growing your own food has a high level of satisfaction and achievement. We highly recommend you try it out.
Visit Local Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ markets have fast become a great place for a family day out. You will not only enjoy a great day under the sun but also be able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other locally made products that you and your family will enjoy.
Join a CSA in Your Area
You can join a Community Supported Agriculture program if there is one in your area. Many local initiatives like these help you get access to locally produced foods. In this program, you pay a certain amount to local farmers at the start of a planting season and in return, you get a regular supply of produce. The CSA program also helps farmers to market their produce early, which helps them earn the funds they need to keep their operations going in the early days of planting season. Plus, it gives farmers and their customers a chance to connect and build a relationship. You can do some research to find a local CSA program that you can join.
Enjoy Meals At Farm-To-Table Restaurants
This is a growing form of business where farms have a sit-down restaurant where the menu includes dishes that are made with locally grown items. Sometimes, these restaurants are hosted by the farm and other times they are set up by a local entrepreneur who has partnered with local farmers to get fresh, in-season items. By supporting farm-to-table businesses, you can rest assured that your meal will be flavorful, nutritious, and environmentally friendly while also feeling satisfied that you are supporting a variety of businesses in your community.
Live the #NewEarthLife
Eating locally produced foods is not only affordable but also nutritious and eco-friendly. You can join us in living the #NewEarthLife today by supporting local businesses and farmers as you move towards nourishing your body with healthy, locally-grown whole foods.
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