5 Benefits for Eating Local

Sharon Palmer

Eating local is the buzz right now, and for many good reasons. What’s better than eating fruits and vegetables, harvested at their ripe perfection and nutritional peak? Did you know that “local” does not have a clear definition? You have the power to determine what local means to you. It could be within 100 miles, 150 miles, your state, your region, or any state that physically borders your own. The most important thing is to start trying to choose more foods—in particular produce—which come from as close to you as possible.

5 Benefits for Eating Local

Local produce at a farmers market

1. Save money. When you choose local, seasonal produce it is usually less expensive, because it takes less production and transportation costs.

Radishes

2. Better nutrition. When you pick produce at it’s nutritional peak, studies show that it can contain a higher level of certain nutrients, such as phytochemicals. In addition, harvested produce can start decreasing in nutritional value as time goes by. So, the less distance your produce has to travel, the better it is for you.

Strawberries

3. Super flavor. Have you ever tasted a ripe tomato straight from the garden? The flavor is amazing! Produce is at its aroma and flavor peak when it is picked ripe and enjoyed immediately. So, eating produce that was grown close to home will keep your taste buds happy!

Farmers market produce

4. Support local farms and your community. When you buy local, you keep your dollars in your own community by supporting local farms and businesses.

5. Reduce your carbon footprint. Eating local means that your food has to spend less time traveling. Less travel time means less resources, such as fossil fuels, are used, and that is definitely better for the environment.

Farmers Market Tomato Arugula Salad

Eating Local is Easy. Here’s How You Do It:

  • Visit your local farmer’s market for local produce, grains, legumes, nuts, oils, and more.
  • Consider a CSA in your region, which can provide a box of seasonal, local produce from a local farm.
  • Try to choose fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. Check out Sharon’s Free Seasonal Produce Guide at www.sharonpalmer.pvccbh3-liquidwebsites.com
  • Look for “local” signs in the produce section of your super market.
  • Become familiar with your local businesses and what grows in your region.
  • Start growing produce in your own backyard; it can be as simple as a tomato plant in a pot or an herb garden.

For more information on sustainable eating, check out the following:

Top 11 Tips for Sustainable Eating
Ask Sharon: How Can I Choose Sustainable Foods?
Plant-Based Eating: The Path to a Healthy, Sustainable Diet

Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN with Angela Dennison, Dietetic Intern, April 21, 2015; Updated on August 2, 2019.

Image: Pasadena Farmers Market, by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN

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