Why Eat Local?

Why Eat Local?

Have you ever wondered why the hype around buying and eating local food? The buy-local movement has grown significantly in recent years, and with very good reason. But it’s always good to stop and ask, “Wait… Why are we doing this again?” Below are seven of the reasons we thought of. 

1. Fresher and tastes better: If you’ve ever taken a bite of something you plucked straight off a tree, you’ll know firsthand how much more satisfying it is than picking something off a supermarket shelf. For produce from faraway locations to reach you without going bad, it’s often harvested well before its had the chance to ripen. This can result in bland tasting fruits and vegetables. Farmers who sell directly to consumers do not need to focus on shelf life. Instead, they can focus on the quality of their produce and prioritise freshness, nutrition and taste. Most supermarket produce is picked weeks or even months before reaching the grocery store shelf.  

2. Higher nutritional value: As soon as a food is harvested, its nutrient content begins to deteriorate. The longer it takes for food to get from the field, to the shop, to your plate, the lower it will be in vitamins and minerals. This doesn’t apply to things like grains and dried legumes which can store well for years. But fresh foods lose their nutritional value quickly, and these are the foods where micronutrients count the most. Because farmers who sell directly to consumers do not need to focus on shipping and shelf life, they also don’t need to use as many chemicals and pesticides. 
3. Helps you eat mindfully: It’s so easy to scarf down a microwavable meal when you know nothing about where it came from, who produced it, how it got to your plate. When you shop locally, when you know the grower personally, or when you’ve grown something yourself, you are far more grateful for the food on your plate.

4. Supports your community: Buying locally helps circulate wealth within your community. But more importantly, it creates connection amongst the people who surround you and with the people who provide your food. In our increasingly online and isolated world, loneliness is a growing problem and getting to know your local growers counteracts this.

5. Support your seasonal needs: Did you know your bodies nutritional needs change with the seasons? If you think about how life was before grocery stores existed, people ate what was available to them at that time of year in the climate in which they lived. Not only does your body need different things throughout the year, but the seasons in your geographical location also provide what you need throughout the year. In the cold days of winter, we need rich and warming, high-fat foods, root vegetables, and fermented foods. In summer, our bodies scream for cooling foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Out-of-season food lacks nutritional value because it requires being sprayed, being stored for long periods, and travelling long distances. 

6. Biodiversity: Small, local farms tend to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, while larger corporate farms tend to focus on only one crop. Having a variety in your crops is an important sustainability practice as it creates balance and protects the biodiversity of the land and soil.

7. Environmentally friendly: Buying locally shortens the distribution chain, which means less waste, less packaging, less transportation, less shipping, less pollution and less food waste. When food goes directly from the farm to the fork, we reduce our footprint and stress on the planet. 

      So there you have it. Regardless of exactly where you draw the “local” line, buying food sourced close to home offers plenty of perks. As well as providing an array of benefits for your health, you also support the environment and your local community. 

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