Why You Should Buy Local
In Canada, our growing season is limited to our warmer months. When the snow melts, the birds start to sing again, trees bud and little saplings begin to grow. It's around May/June that the term "local" begins to pop-up. You may have already heard that eating local is better for you. But here are 6 reasons why:
It's really, really fresh
Locally grown food is full of flavour... Flavours that we otherwise can miss out on when produce is imported from other countries. It benefits us greatly when our food is fresh because after your produce is picked, it begins to lose nutrients! When in comes to produce that is imported, crops are picked before they have even ripened (and some are even artificially ripened) so that they can withstand the travel time that it takes until they sit on your grocery store shelf. Fresh is best and knowing what is in season and when can avoid accidentally buying 1 year old apples!
Test this out yourself, try eating strawberries, peaches, spinach, kale and bell peppers while they are local versus when they are imported in the middle of winter - you will taste the difference.
You'll be eating with the seasons
Eating local food is one-in-one with eating seasonally. While strawberries are available all year round, in Ontario we only get strawberries for a short time in the beginning of summer and the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. When the later summer months arrive our root vegetables and winter squashes are locally available and this is the best time to reach for these foods. You can support your body through the change of the seasons when you follow the seasons in your kitchen. Root vegetable stews are natural in our harvest season and berries, cherries and other fruits are best in our early summer months. If you've took part in my 3-Day Reset Juice Cleanse, you would also know that practices such as vegetable juicing, along with a raw food diet would be two winter time no-no's!
It's just better for you, really
Local produce comes from small and often family-owned farms, who tend to their own crops, and pick at their peak ripeness either the night before or morning of selling. Local food is fresh food, rich in flavour and all of the nutrients and enzymes are still in tact. As a living food, produce begins to lose its benefits with time so fresh and local is best. If you are looking to maximize the nutrient potential from food you should search for the shortest time from farm-to-table, and for those who grow their own garden - a backyard-to-table is even more ideal!
Love the environment
When you purchase local organic produce you are supporting a natural way of growing that does not use harmful pesticides, herbicides and fungicides which harm the environment, wildlife and the farmer! By purchasing locally grown YOU help maintain organic and natural farmland and green space in your community. Most of our organic produce has otherwise traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles. Think of all the hands that have touched the food you put into your body, think of all the gas it requires to ship it, think of the exhaust and pollution on its journey. While we cannot control what is available in January, we can from at least May-November, so choose local when possible!
Local food promotes a safe food supply
The more steps there are between you and your foods source, the more chances there are for contamination! Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution. Avoid recalls on mass produces foods by again, choosing local when available.
Local growers can tell you how the food was grown
This reminds me of the Portlandia "is this chicken local" skit about Colin the Chicken. Although they definitely take things to a new level as far as your foods history goes, my favourite part of local farming is that you can actually talk directly to the person who grew your food. You can ask if they use pesticides or fertilizers, if they spray their fruits and vegetables or if they are certified organic. You can also ask what practices they use to raise and harvest their crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food (which is so cool).
Enjoy local while you can. Your choice and efforts matter and make an impact in our world and you may be able to save quite a few dollars on groceries in the process. Become familiar with seasonal foods in your area and use food preserving techniques such as freezing, jarring, fermenting, pickling and dehydrating to utilize all of the joyous fresh and local foods and extend their accessibility!
Your Guide To Seasonal Produce
Know what's available and when! Never miss out on strawberry season again! Click here for your free copy of Your Guide To Seasonal Produce