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? And there’s much more than good nutrition and amazing taste. You can help support a local, resilient food system in your community when you purchase from farmers that produce foods in your region. In addition, you can include more biodiversity in your diet, as you’ll find a greater variety of unusual veggies, heirloom types of produce, and seasonal foods that you might not otherwise find in your supermarket. So, go ahead, get local with these top five benefits from eating more locally.

5 Benefits for Eating Local

Super Berry Soy Chia Pudding

1. Save money. When you choose local, seasonal produce, it can be less expensive because it takes less transportation. Think blueberries in season instead of shipped in from far away.

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.

Farmers Market Tomato Arugula Salad

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!

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.

Eating local is easy. Here’s how you can 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. 
• 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. Download my home gardening toolkit here

For more eco-friendly tips, check out:

Sustainable Eating Explained by EAT-Lancet
6 Ways to Cut Your Food Waste
Top 5 Tips for Greening Your Plate

Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN with Angela Dennison, Dietetic Intern

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

One thought on “5 Benefits for Eating Local

  1. I like that you said one of the benefits of dining in local restaurants is that you help support your own community plus you spend less time travelling, which results in reduced carbon footprint. My parents are coming to visit us in two weeks, so perhaps I should take them to local restaurants downtown instead of expensive franchised restaurants. Thanks for the idea!

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