Eating locally grown foods has more benefits than one. Not only are these foods tasty, you are supporting local farmers and producers, being sustainable, supporting the local economy, and choosing healthy and nutritious options. Whether you make weekly trips to the local Farmers’ Market or choose restaurants and stores that carry local products, you are benefiting yourself and the community and environment.
Locally grown food is more nutritious. Because it is local, there is a shorter amount of time between the farm and your table. This helps prevent the loss of nutrients during travel time if food has to travel long distances before it reaches you. Furthermore, imported food usually sits in distribution centers before it ends up in a store, meaning more time for the food to lose nutrients.
Locally grown food looks and tastes better. Local food is picked at its peak of ripeness, while non-local food is often harvested early in order to account for the travel and distribution time. When shopping at a local market, many times the produce has been harvested within 24 hours of your purchase, which provides you with a flavorful and nutritious product.
Locally grown food promotes a safer food supply. With less time between the harvest and your table, there are less steps of processing and handling in between, which results in a lesser chance of contamination. Food grown in distant locations has a greater chance of food safety issues during harvesting, washing, shipping, and distributing. Additionally, local growers can tell you how and where the food was grown or how it was produced, are not anonymous, and take their responsibility to the consumer seriously. You can also talk to your local farmers about their food safety practices.
Locally grown food benefits the environment. Not only does locally grown food need to travel less distance, but by purchasing locally, you help maintain farming and green or open space in your community.
Locally grown food supports the local economy and community. When you purchase locally, the money spent usually stays local, which means it can be reinvested into local businesses and services in your community.
By purchasing locally grown food, you engage with local farmers and gain a better understanding of the seasons, your land, and your food. You benefit yourself and your community while promoting a more sustainable environment. So next time you get the chance, head to your local Farmers’ Market to get some delicious and nutritious produce and food!