Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eating Locally

We hear a lot about eating locally, but why should we do it?

Here are a few good reasons.

  • Local food is fresher and tastes better. It hasn't been trucked or flown in from thousands of miles away. If you don't think there's a taste difference between lettuce wrapped in plastic for a few days and lettuce picked fresh that morning, with some of the dirt still on it, think again!
  • Local foods are seasonal and taste better.  We have become used to seeing foods at the supermarket that wouldn't ordinarily be there because they aren't in season where we live. Usually these items come from the other hemisphere where they are enjoying the opposite season, so the foods are in season THERE, not here. Why not wait until next summer when we yearn again for the sweet taste of apricots or nectarines? They will taste even better if we wait. (You've heard the saying: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder").
  • Local foods have less environmental impact. Look for farmers who follow organic, or at least, sustainable growing practices and energy use to minimize the food's environmental impact. And again, trucking or flying it in from somewhere else is an enormous waste of fossil fuel. With current gas prices, think what this will do to the price of food! Eat from your local farmer!
  • Local foods preserve green space and farmland. Isn't it lovely to see some bits and pieces of agriculture in between the cities where you live? Help support that. Green is beautiful!
  • Local foods promote food safety. The fewer steps between your food's source and your table, the less chance there is of contamination. Most of those e.coli outbreaks were from mega-food producers, not the little guys.
  • Local foods support your local economy. I'd rather hand over my hard-earned dollars to my  local farmers instead of some food corporation in another city, state or country.
  • Local foods promote variety. Corporations are only interested in growing what can withstand a long truck haul with minimal bruising and damage. The local grower cares about variety. My local fruit guys sell at least 8 different kinds of plums in the summer, each one unique in color and flavor. You're not going to see that at the supermarket.
  • Local foods create community. Knowing where your food is from connects you to the people who raise and grow it. At the farmer's market you can usually look the farmer in the eye and get to know him or her. You don't get that at the supermarket either.
Am I down on supermarkets? You betcha.

For a great list of how to eat locally, check out this link.

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