The “eat local” movement that has taken hold all throughout the country has several practical and logical reasons that support this trend. So what’s behind it? Why would someone go out of their way to eat foods that have been grown locally? With the change in our food system over the past decades our shift on what is needed for a healthy, nourishing meal has also changed. Eating locally is the beginning of bringing back the connection to our food. Here are ten reasons why eating local is beneficial.
- Food Safety: The government estimates one in six Americans get ill from eating contaminated foods each year with nearly 3000 deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control there were 10 E. coli outbreaks between 2010 and 2012. They were linked to everything from cheese and bologna, to hazelnuts, peanut butter, and spinach. These outbreaks occur because of a complicated food system-from growth to travel to purchase. The incidence of contaminated foods is significantly decreased when the foods are grown and harvested near you.
- Quality: Foods that are grown locally don’t have to go through the rigors of transportation across states (or countries) and storage for long periods of time. Consequently they are much fresher when they get to your plate. They are picked at their peak, right before they get to your plate, which ensures the highest quality.
- Nutrition: Eating locally ensures you will be eating with the seasons. In any given area farmers are subject to grow what the season will support. Nature has a way of telling us, based on the food it supports, what is best for us to eat during each season of the year. For example, early spring is all about tender, leafy vegetables like chard, spinach, lettuce, and parsley. Warmer climates support cooling foods like summer squash, zucchini, berries, peaches and plums. All cooler fall and winters warming foods like winter squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots and kale.
- Taste: Eating with the seasons ensures that we get the tastiest foods on our plate. Foods that are in season just taste better. Consider how good strawberries taste when spring blossoms, full of sweetness and crispness or how delicious a big red tomato tastes in the peak of summer!
- “Shelf Life”: On big issue often discussed is that produce in the fridge has to be thrown away before it can be consumed. Our local producers harvest their produce right before it is delivered to us after which it is delivered to you – A total time window of 72 hours or less. Therefore, once you get it home it has a longer shelf life.
- Local economy: Every time you purchase something that is not from a locally owned business your money is leaving your community. Shopping local keeps money in the community to create local jobs, and protects our local culture. Research estimates that every dollar spent on local commerce generates nearly twice as much income for the local economy than if that dollar were spent on a multi-national business.
- Environmental Impact: According to Michael Pollan, the average food item travels approximately 1500 miles to get to your table. Buying local means you eliminate a large part of the supply chain that requires fossil fuels for transportation.
At IndiePlate we want to enable this Farm-to-Table movement. Come join us and support your local food producers, your local economy, and your environment. Shopping at IndiePlate is just a small part of this bigger good!
Daphne is a food passionista, farm girl wanna-be, and registered, yet unconventional dietitian. She has worked in a variety of clinical nutrition settings before deciding to start her practice, My Food Coach in Lafayette, LA. Through her practice, Daphne focuses on providing the body with the nutrients it needs to bring itself into balance. Her practice revolves around providing education, empowerment, and support to allow you to make changes necessary to maintain optimal health. Click here to visit her website and read more about a variety of food and diet-related topics.