Healthy Eating Habits: Buy Fresh Produce Locally
Shopping for fresh produce locally means buying it from a farmer, farm stand, farmers’ market, or a local food shop in your community.
If you are trying to establish healthy eating habits, shopping locally not only provides you with tasty and nutritious foods, but it can turn shopping into a fun, interesting adventure. Local buying also fosters a sense of being part of your community.
Benefits of Shopping Locally
When buying locally your money is not being spent on packaging and transportation, but on food variety, taste, and freshness.
Your produce will be fresh and full of flavor. Locally grown fruits and vegetables can be picked at the height of their ripeness since they are typically sold within 24 hours of harvest. They will naturally be more nutritious and flavorful than produce that has been in transit to a supermarket forasmuch as one to two weeks.
More variety to choose from. Produce sold in supermarkets is frequently chosen for its durability to withstand harvesting equipment, packing, and days of transportation to the store. Local farmers do not have this constraint, giving them the freedom to plant a unique assortment of interesting and flavorful produce.
An investment in good health. Knowing where and how food is grown helps you buy from farmers who minimize or avoid using antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals, hormones, or genetically modified seeds.
Good for your environment. Local food is transported to local markets reducing the amount of packaging materials needed, and lowering transport vehicle emissions.
Buying locally also allows local farmers - who are generally good stewards of the land - to thrive. This makes selling open farmland to developers is less enticing, and less likely to become necessary.
Good for your local economy. Purchasing locally means the money you spend will continue circulating in your community. Plus, more of each dollar will go to the farmer who is part of your local economy—farmers receive a larger share of the profit from food purchased directly by local shoppers.
Shopping for produce locally can also renew an appreciation for our connection to, and dependence on, the Earth’s bounty. It can even alter our relationship with food by bringing us a step closer to its source and those who cultivate it.
Source: Food Routes
Photo credit: MdAgDept (@flickr)