In the past few years, the concept of “Local” food has really exploded. More and more people are coming to understand the importance of eating locally produced food and all of the amazing benefits that eating locally gives to the body and to the local economy.
I try to incorporate local foods into my diet as much as possible, partly because food that I buy locally is typically not processed and if it is, I can talk to the person who’s making it to make sure that it fits my family’s needs. It’s also really fun to visit local farms and markets and my kids enjoy it too. Another fun way to incorporate local foods into your diet is by going to restaurants that focus on sourcing their ingredients locally.
Here are some things you might not know about eating locally:
Eating Locally Grown and Produced Food is Good for Your Health
The closer the food is grown to you, the more nutritious it will be. Specific to produce, most of what we buy in grocery stores is grown across the country or in other countries and then it travels a long way to get here. Food can sit in storage and transportation for days, weeks, or even months before you buy it. Every minute that that food is away from it’s branches it loses nutrients, flavor, and freshness. If you’ve ever had a peach that was allowed to ripen on the vine, you’ll understand what I mean. You’ll never replicate that amazing juiciness and flavor by ripening a grocery store peach in a paper bag.
Eating Local Means That You Are Supporting Your Local Farm Economy
Farming is one of the most important jobs in our country, and so many of our communities still have small, family owned farms nearby. Those farms need our support in order to keep bringing us amazing and delicious food! Each time you shop at a farmer’s market or support a restaurant that serves local dishes, you are keeping money inside of your local economy rather than supporting large corporate food suppliers.
Buying Local Food is Good for the Environment
If your food doesn’t have to travel far to get to you, think of the reduction in fuel used, emissions created, and overall energy expended! It may seem like you can’t make a big difference, but if everyone ate locally, there would be a significant impact to our overall carbon footprint.
Eating Local Helps You to Eat Seasonally
In most places, growing seasons are varied and not every produce item is available all year wrong. Relying on the food available in your local economy can really help you to appreciate seasonal eating and can also teach you much about preserving – so that you can enjoy strawberries or corn in the middle of winter. In our world we’ve become very accustomed to being able to find whatever food we want at any time of the year, but this comes at a cost to the local farming community.
This season, I hope you can find new ways to incorporate local food into your diet. “Eat Local” isn’t just a buzzword, it’s an important practice that can improve your health, our environment, and our local economies.
Cindy Gordon is a foodie who loves to blog about gluten free vegetarian/vegan recipes on her website Vegetarian Mamma. Cindy's family is dedicated to finding/creating recipes and products that fit their families dietary needs. Cindy resides in Ohio with her husband and two boys (born '07 & '10). She enjoys spending time with her family, the outdoors, gardening, wine and cooking!