Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why eat locally grown food?

As you can probably tell by my previous post, one of my favorite topics to discuss is food. No, I am not a foodie! Naturally, I love to eat food, however, when it comes to discussing food—I like to talk about its affect on health. Interestingly, food not only affects our body’s state of health—but the way it is grown, packaged, and distributed has a wider effect—an environmental effect. Eating locally grown food reflects both aspects well, and so, I’d like to talk about why eating locally is a good thing.

Fresher produce. Produce sold in supermarkets has been picked, stored, and transported anywhere from days to weeks before you have the chance to purchase it. Produce at your local farmer’s market has typically been picked less than 24 hours before reaching the market. Fresher produce not only tastes good—it packs more nutritional value as well.

Better for the environment. Local food does not travel for thousands of miles in trucks, planes, and ships to get to the market. Less travel equals less pollution.

Supports small family farms. Eating local means you are supporting your local farmer. This not only supports the local economy, but also promotes responsible land development. More farms and pastures equals more open spaces :).

Eating local means more variety. Small farms are free to grow and offer a variety of veggies and fruits. Variety is not only good for our bodies and fun for our palates, but good for the environment as well. Mono-cropping is frequently practiced in large industrialized agricultural systems. Although economically efficient, mono-cropping is an environmentally unsound practice.

On a personal note, I have to admit that I find something extremely satisfying about walking around in a farmer’s market, touching the produce, and handing my money to the farmer himself!

If you would like to find a farmer’s market in your area, a small farm in your area, or how you can sign up for a CSA (community supported agriculture)—try this website: http://www.localharvest.org/


Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, School of Health Sciences

2 comments:

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness said...

Hi Nancy - I joined my local CSA this past spring. It is a farm just a mile from my house and yum the veggies just melted in my mouth! I took a picture of some of the fennel we received - it was literally 3 feet tall!
Go CSA's!
Jen

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness said...

Hi Jen,

I agree--CSA's are great :). Receiving a box full of veggies every other week is a handy way to be sure to meet the USDA requirements of at least 5 a day! In case anyone is unclear on exactly what a CSA is--please check out this website :).

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Nancy

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