We all know that fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet. But where that produce comes from is also an important consideration. Basically, the less distance your food has to travel to get to your plate, the better it is for your health, the economy, and the planet. Here are five great reasons to eat local:
1. Local foods taste better
Eating locally means eating seasonally, when foods are at their peak of ripeness and flavor. Foods imported from far-away places often rely on waxes, chemicals and preservatives to make them look fresher and tastier than they really are. (No thank you!)
2. Local foods are better for the environment
That little sprig of cilantro that traveled across six states to get to your grocery cart leads to a big carbon footprint. Look for farmers who follow organic and sustainable growing practices and energy to minimize your food’s environmental impact.
3. Local food is more nutrient dense
Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, so it’s less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Fresh, local foods provide your body with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals enzymes, antioxidants and phytochemicals that you need to maintain vibrant health.
4. Local foods promote food safety
The fewer steps there are between your food’s source and your table, the less chance there is of contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
5. Local foods support your local economy
Money spent with local farmers, growers and artisans all stays close to home. And since the food moves through fewer hands, more of the money you spend tends to get to the people growing it.
With farmer’s markets in full swing, now’s the perfect time to integrate more local whole foods into your diet. Need some help on how to add more seasonal foods to your diet? We’ve got you covered. When you subscribe to barre3 Online, you get access to over a hundred recipes. (You can even search for them by season using the recipe index!) You might also consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm; some even deliver the weekly harvest to handy pickup locations. To find out what’s harvested seasonally in your area, go to www.localharvest.org to find farmers’ markets near you and seasonal produce guides.
Ready to go local? Get inspired by adding your favorite fresh Summer ingredients to the DIY Salad!