As a follow-up to my last post about where to find local food, today’s topic discusses why locally-grown products are superior to mass-produced foods. Buying local foods is often harder than purchasing something at a chain grocery store (unless you grow your own foods, which is the best kind of local of all!) and it is easy to forget why the extra effort of shopping locally is worth it.
So in case you need a reminder, here you go!
Local Food Has a Higher Nutritional Value
The number one reason to purchase local food is because local foods have a higher nutritional value than mass-produced foods. Locally-grown foods are picked when they are ripe, which is a rarity for grocery foods. Locally-grown foods typically use less pesticides than larger farms, which cuts down on chemical consumption. Fresh foods also lose their nutritional value over time, which means the less time it takes to get from farm to table the better. Even things like eggs, meat, and dairy are much better farm-fresh.
Local Food Tastes Better
There truly is no comparison between bland grocery food and fresh-from-the-farm foods. Most grocery produce has a weak flavor that is unappetizing. Fresh fruits and veggies from a farmer’s market (or better yet, your own garden) are amazingly better and packed full of delicious flavor.
Local Food Sources Prepare for the Future
Mass-produced foods require a lot of organization and manpower to deliver to the grocery store. In case of natural disaster, political emergencies, or some other unforeseen event, trucks are unable to deliver food to the store. The rising cost of fuel is also driving grocery food prices higher. Local food sources can avoid some of this price increase because they have less distance to travel. Buying food directly from a farm will lower prices even further!
Local Foods Help the Environment
Packing and delivering commercially-processed foods is hard on the environment. Food processing factories pollute the air and use massive amounts of energy. Transporting food across the country takes a lot of fuel. Commercial farms use a lot of pesticides and other non-natural substances to keep food preserved while it travels. Buying locally eliminates the need for all of the environment-damaging actions.
Buying Local Foods Helps the Community
Purchasing foods from local sources helps the community for at least two reasons. First, you are stimulating the local economy, which keeps wealth in the neighborhood. Secondly, you are promoting local business. Wouldn’t it be a shame if there were no more locally-owned businesses? By buying local, you show the community that local business is important.
Tips for Including Locally-Grown Foods in Your Diet
If you are having a little trouble including local foods in your diet, try these tips to help:
- Memorize the closest farmer’s markets to your house and their operating hours
- Food co-ops make it easy to purchase from several local vendors at once
- Plan your meals around seasonal foods
- Make it part of your routine to visit a farmer’s market or farm once a week
- Freeze foods you cannot consume within 2-3 days to preserve their nutrients
Do you buy food locally? If not, what holds you back?