Six Reasons to Eat Local
This post written by guest blogger Amy Gentry
I’ve recently come to realize that I rather enjoy washing the dirt from my vegetables. A few nights ago I made curried carrot soup and, as I stood at the sink rinsing the soil from my straight-from-the-farm carrots, I thought about how good it felt knowing that this food had taken only a short trip to get to my family dinner table. I’m proud that most of the fresh food my family gets is from local farms.
Here are my top six reasons to eat local:
When you visit a local farm, farmer’s market or get farm delivery, you are getting the produce, eggs and meat at its freshest. Since the product is exposed to less handling, farm fresh is cleaner & more nutritional, looks better, lasts longer and, above all, tastes better. And it just plain feels good to eat fresh food!
Locally grown produce goes through less transportation than store-bought items that can travel thousands of miles to get to the grocery store. This impacts us in many ways. Less transportation means less impact on the environment. We are improving food safety by avoiding multiple trucks, factory handling and plastic wrap, decreasing the chance of contamination. This keeps us healthier. And by supporting our local farms, we are ensuring that these farms are prosperous and stay where they are. Parking lots won’t be built on green space that is profitable (insert Joni Mitchell song here).
Before I decided to really take charge of my family’s healthy eating habits, I would buy squash in the winter from the grocery store chain. Now, I enjoy the challenge of creating fantastic meals from the seasonal vegetables and fruits I receive. It’s a thrill to open our box of farm delivered produce to see what items we get to eat and cook with for the week. I had actually never cooked with chard until recently and now I have a variety of dishes that include it AND the whole family will eat. Sunchokes are also a recent new discovery that was simple to prepare and delicious. Peaches & blueberries on homemade pancakes are a pretty incredible treat in the summer too. If you focus on seasonal freshness, you are almost forced to be creative and will never have a boring kitchen table again.
Perhaps this just goes along with my “it just feels good” mentality about buying locally, but I recently took my three kids to a local farm & market and we left there with a bag full of fresh veggies and colorful day-fresh eggs, and feeling inspired. Excited that we’d walked around the farm and saw where the spinach was growing, and stepped around the hens who had, that very day, laid the eggs we were taking home (I was so inspired, I bought 3-dozen eggs and was indeed quite creative with eggs for that week). At dinner that evening, it meant something to me and my kids that we knew exactly where our food had come from.
Buying locally keeps dollars in our local economy, instead of in the pocket of large corporations. Pay attention to local restaurants and artisans that buy from local farms. This is a great way to keep the circle of buying locally in motion and creates demand and profitability for these farms.
It’s pretty fantastic to walk up to your local farmer’s market and to be asked, “Hey, what are you feeding the kids tonight?” When we buy from our local farmers, we are creating a bigger (and better) community. When we return to the road-side fresh market for the colorful eggs each week, we are building relationships with those who are helping us live healthier lives. Engaging with the growers and workers who put this fresh food on our tables is meaningful. And, I’ll say it one last time…it just feels good.
What makes you feel good about buying locally? Reply in the comments below.
From Seattle, Amy Gentry is a freelance marketer, a wannabe writer, a wife, mother of 3 kids, and someone who really, really enjoys feeling good www.averagejoemama.blogspot.com