Eating local food is not only better for you and the environment but it tastes better too. If you haven’t considered trying to #eatlocal yet, here’s 6 reasons why we think you should…
- It’s better for your health – the shorter the timeframe from field to fork, the fresher your food is and the better it is for you. Produce that’s picked at its peak of freshness contains the most vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, whereas food that’s travelled a long distance after picking begins to lose vital nutrients. Seasonal local food is also less likely to be covered with fungicides, waxes or any type of preservative that are usually used to on imported and out of season produce.
- Buying locally = strengthening the local economy – Studies by the New Economics Foundation in London have shown that money spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy than bigger, nationally owned businesses. Buying local food also supports and creates local jobs at farms, markets, and local food processing and distribution systems.
- Reduce environmental impact – Food that’s not locally grown has to be stored or transported long distances contributing to pollution, congestion and habitat loss. Locally owned businesses on the other hand, are more likely to make local purchases, and stick to seasonal produce, which require less transportation. The ingredients for a typical British meal, all sources locally was claimed to have travelled 66 times fewer “food miles.” This reduces the environmental impact a local business has on the environment and gives back in investing in other local businesses and farms.
- Strengthening the relationship we have with food – Buying food today is complicated enough not knowing what pesticides were used, if something was genetically modified, or if the meat we’re buying was really raised as free range as it’s claimed to be. When we buy locally, it’s easier to get the answers to these questions and we know exactly where our food is coming from. Strengthening your relationship with food also connects you to the people who raise and grow it – the producers – and a community is formed. More than likely, they’ve also used ingredients that have been sourced locally making the buy local chain full circle.
- Seasonal eating – Seasons form a natural backdrop for everything that we eat, something that’s too often dismissed in the face of modern food processing and the worldwide distribution of food that makes most of what we eat available all year round. The effects? Supermarket shelves look no different in December than they did in July, and we’re no longer in tune with Mother Nature. Ecologists stress that seasons are vital as a source of natural diversity and that the changes in growing conditions from autumn to winter or spring to summer are essential for balancing the earth’s resources and its life forms.
- Local foods promote variety in the marketplace – Farmers who provide local restaurants and farmers markets with produce usually have the demand and economic support to raise more types of produce and livestock. They’re also more likely to try uncommon crops because they have the capacity to experiment with a small yield (unlike conventional farms they don’t need to satisfy thousands of customers).