I try to be a locavore. A locavore is a person who eats foods that are produced within a close region and are not transported over long distances. I am a big fan of eating foods that are produced within the New York region and I also take this interest a step further and try to patronize local businesses. Instead of going to a mega supermarket, I go to independent stores, instead of getting shoes from the mall, I will go to a local store. In this case, I am blogging about the benefits of eating food produced locally.
Five reasons to purchase locally grown produce:
1. Eat Fresh Food. How can a banana that travelled all the way from Chile, taste as fresh as a banana picked from a farm 30 miles from your home? Many times these produce are washed in the factory and sprayed with things to make the produce look like it was picked the day before; when really it was grown a week prior (which is why they spoil more quickly). It is more beneficial health wise to eat food that is fresh because the nutritional value is high. Not only is your food fresher when you eat locally, but you are also eating in season. When you eat food in season, they tend to taste better because the produce is not being imported from another location and it is what the body is naturally craving. On Oprah’s website, she has a great list of in season foods.
2. Stimulate the Local Economy. Money changes less hands and farmers get a larger cut of sales, when food is purchased locally. Not only is the economy stimulated, but it benefits the community, the workers, and smaller companies. Large corporations have enough money coming into them, let small companies and farms get a piece of the pie directly instead of indirectly.
3. Support Local Businesses. It is rewarding to go to a farmers market and shake the hand of the farmer; you can’t always do that with a large corporation. When you support a local business you are building a sense of community. You get to know who is growing your food and you get to see the impact of your dollar.
4. Low Environmental Impact. The carbon footprint decreases when food is transported locally. You also can research on websites such as Local Harvest for locations that practice sustainable growing practices.
5. Inexpensive. I found that produce from New York or New Jersey, tend to be less expensive than produce from other locations. I am not sure if this is a direct relation to transportation cost, but I suspect because the produce doesn’t have to travel as far and be preserved that the cost is lower.
I hope with these five reasons, I have convinced you to try shopping locally occasionally or frequently. Do you shop locally? Why do you shop locally?
An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.
Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre