What you eat matters to your health — you already know this.
However, it may be news that the place from which you source your food could affect your well-being, too. Local foods tend to be better for you, and here’s why.
What Are Locally Sourced Foods?
You’ve seen a bevy of different labels on your foods, from all-natural to organic to locally sourced. It may seem these terms are interchangeable. Although they often go hand-in-hand, each one means something different.
When we say locally sourced, we mean food that has been cultivated in the local community. Purchasing local products has a slew of benefits for your health and the world-at-large, to boot.
How Will Local Foods Improve My Health?
Locally sourced foods come from farms nearby, which means they’re likely to arrive to you quickly and fresher than traditional grocery store options. Fruits and veggies start to lose their nutrients within a day of harvest. So, if you get your produce more quickly, you get more of that goodness in your diet.
On that note, local produce is picked at the perfect time, which means it has time to ripen and reach its full nutrient density. Some suppliers have to ship their products from one corner of the country — or globe — to another. As such, they have to pick fruits and vegetables before they ripen, which means they don’t reach the same nutrient density. The journey to a shop’s shelves can further strip non-local produce of its nutritional value. Artificial lights and changing temperatures can affect fruits and vegetables, too.
Then, there’s the use of wax, a common practice used to re-create fruit and vegetables’ protective layer. You can remove the wax when you buy from a big-box store, of course. However, locally sourced produce is much more likely to come sans wax — no need to scour your produce before eating.
Best of all, buying local means that you can get to know the person or people who are supplying your food. You can learn their growing methods. Do they use any pesticides that could be harmful to your health? How do they replenish the soil? Knowing this information can help you find responsible suppliers — and food that’s even more nourishing.
And don’t stop with just your produce orders, either. You can find local suppliers for many of the fresh products you love — and even some prepared foods, too. For instance, coastal states will have access to fresh seafood that comes from local fishermen who harvest responsibly.
Are There Other Benefits of Buying Local?
It’s not just about your physical health — buying local is good for the earth around you, too. Perhaps this knowledge can make locally sourced food a boon to your mental health, as well.
It’s Good for the Earth
It’s called local for a reason — your food won’t be traveling hours or days to reach the shelves of your grocery store. Instead, you go and find suppliers at a flea or farmer’s market. Neither of you has journeyed far to buy and sell produce. As such, getting food from farm to table requires much less fuel and creates less of a carbon footprint. This is good news for Mother Earth.
On top of that, buying from a local farmer keeps them in business. That way, developers can’t buy up farmland for commercial centers or residential developments. Instead, a little bit more of the planet remains green — and your patronage can help keep it that way.
You’ll Buy In-Season Fruits and Veggies
This benefit goes hand-in-hand with environmental friendliness. When you shop at a grocery store, you can find fruits and veggies all year round, regardless of whether or not they’re in season. You can deduce that these products are flown and shipped in from places around the world with the climate to support such growth. As we know, such extensive shipping only wastes resources and damages the earth.
When you buy local, though, you get what’s in season at the time. You’ll decrease demand for fruits and veggies that are only available at select times during the year. And you’ll get the bonus of biting into food that’s so much tastier because it was grown nearby and at the right time.
It Boosts the Local Economy
Finally, your local produce purchase will keep the local economy afloat. Rather than giving your cash to a corporate entity, you will put money into the hands of real local people. They will, in turn, use your payments to fund their lives. This cycle keeps the economy bustling and ensures that people continue to re-invest in the local market and community. Smart, local purchasing can keep it this way for years to come.
Eat Local for Good
Locally sourced foods taste incredible. They’re packed with nutrients that improve your health. And they do good for the world and your local community. We think that’s reason enough to start sourcing fresh foods from a local supplier — so, do your research and start buying from your neighbors.
Article Submitted By Community Writer