Eating Locally Grown Food
Summer is in full swing and the Farmers markets are full of delicious, seasonal, colorful, nutritious foods. You may have a garden of your own that you are enjoying right now. Why eat locally grown food? Is it better for you?
- Locally grown food is full of flavor. When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store. Many times produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
- Eating local food is eating seasonally. Even though we wish strawberries were grown year round in Michigan, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. They are full of flavor and taste better than the ones available in the winter that have traveled thousands of miles and picked before they were ripe.
- Local food has more nutrients. Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.
- Local food supports the local economy. The money that is spent with local farmers and growers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
- Local food benefits the environment. By purchasing locally grown foods you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community.
- Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
- Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.
Think about it, wouldn’t you like to know what you are eating and where it comes from? Many processed foods have stories that you probably don’t want to hear. Researching all of this can be time consuming and disturbing at times when you see what is done to the food and where it has been. If cost is a concern, some farmers markets now take food stamps and I believe it is better to eat less real food than more of unhealthy foods. So enjoy the trip to the farmers market and love what you make with it, your body and the environment will thank you.
Submitted by Tricia @ Nutrition by Tricia