Prioritizing local food from local farms may be one of the most worthy causes in terms of our bodies, our communities, and our planet. By supporting local, you are ensuring that your food budget goes directly to supporting your community. Your direct support allows these farms to survive–and thrive!
Not only does supporting local businesses benefit our communities, it also benefits the health of our bodies and our planet. Adding in-season foods to your diet (especially from a local farmer) enhances our health and also creates excitement around cooking meals at home. In terms of the planet, foods that have a long journey to your table generate increased carbon emissions, which in turn contributes to climate change. We can do our part to create a healthier world by supporting local as much as possible.
Here are 5 benefits to supporting local food.
1. Local Produce tastes better.
Local produce is fresher and usually tastes better. This is because the food has not been shipped across the country or world.
Do you ever buy a container of spinach, even the organic kind, and when you open it, it smells funky and a bit like chemicals? Well it turns out that most fruits and veggies in the grocery store are sprayed with carbon dioxide to extend the storage length and flavor of the produce. Same goes for the meat – ever wonder why it is bright red??
2. Local produce usually contains more nutrients.
Produce that has to travel usually sits on trucks, trains, and in warehouses before you are able to eat it, and in that time, likely loses many nutrients. Many fruits and veggies begin to lose their nutrients about 24 hours after they’re picked, and the more local it is, the faster you’ll probably get it.
3. Buying local food cuts down on transportation costs.
Buying local means that your food doesn’t have to be transported across long distances. That means a decrease in carbon emissions that harm our planet.
4. Local food supports your health.
In addition to the fact that local produce usually has more nutrients, local honey has some amazing benefits to your health. Local organic raw honey is linked to reduced seasonal allergies. Quercetin, a component of honey, has been found in studies to reduce inflammation and pollen allergy symptoms. It stabilizes the cell membranes that release histamine, which triggers allergic reactions. Raw honey also contains bee pollen and bee propolis, which boosts the immune system and builds immunity to allergens.
5. Local food builds a sense of community.
Buying local builds a sense of community. You can get to know the farmers that are growing, touching, and harvesting the food that you are putting in your body. You can ask them questions directly and end up with a better understanding (and greater appreciation) of what your family is eating.
Small local farms may support farming practices that even go beyond the USDA organic certification. Even if they aren’t certified organic, you’ll find many local farmers who are dedicated to regenerative agriculture and support the land and soil in your community. Many small farmers are dedicated to the health and well-being of their animals and crops.
Summer is a great time to support local farms. Check your local farmers’ markets for meat, dairy, eggs, and produce! Visiting a farmers’ market is a fun, family-friendly activity your kids will love! If you find it hard to set aside time for the farmers’ market each week, try signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). With a CSA share, you will be getting the freshest produce direct from the farm each week in a box that can be picked up from a local farm or CSA hub. Some CSAs will even deliver CSA boxes directly to your doorstep. Visit Local Harvest to find a CSA or Farmer’s Market in your area.
Supporting local is an investment in your healthy, your community, and the future. Remember, when you support local farmers today, you’re helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow.