A neighborhood farmer’s market offers a beautiful bounty of fresh foods that smell and taste even better than they look. You can experience fresh seasonal produce, baked goods, local spreads and dips, all while supporting your local economy. When you eat and buy local, you experience a deeper connection to your food.
An essential part of a healthy diet is the consumption of fresh produce items. Now, you can purchase fruits and vegetables at most grocery stores, but do you know much about them? Do you know how or where they were grown? Are they pesticide-free and do they contain GMOs? These are the questions you can ask local growers when you shop at a roadside stand or farmer’s market. The food is always fresher and you get to know the people who bring that food to your plate.
Local Food Is More Nutritious
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other necessary nutrients. Produce items lose some of these nutrients during transportation, though. For example, vitamin C levels in produce items start to decline after harvesting. Depending on the storage of produce items, antioxidants may be higher or lower. Additionally, store bought produce may have been sprayed with chemicals to preserve appearance. Local produce arrives at the market the same day or the day after harvest. That’s why shopping locally gives you the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. The items don’t travel far and they provide you with essential nutrients.
Money Remains In The Community
Anyone can support a big business, and it’s near impossible to avoid that. You do have the opportunity to keep money within your community by buying locally, though. Keeping your money in the local economy means that your money goes to whoever you purchase from. If you buy from a farmer, the money goes from you to him or her. Buying from an national chain means that the money leaves the community as soon as you make the purchase.
Local Food Is Safer
How can food be considered “safer” than other food? Well, the more steps involved to get the food from the source to your grocery store or plate, the more chances there are for contamination. You may not know it, but most food ships from international growers. There may be issues with harvesting, washing, shipping, cross contamination, and distribution. These are the things that you don’t think about when you purchase an apple or cluster of tomatoes. Additionally, buying food locally helps to reduce carbon footprint, in that local food travels from a shorter distance to markets and stores. Some local foods may even come from a block away!
Local Food Is The Freshest
As mentioned previously, there is no importing or extensive transportation involved when you buy local food. Have you ever taken a bite out of a juicy strawberry from a farmer’s market? It’s transformative, right? The avocados are creamier and richer and tomatoes seem more plump and flavorful. Local produce that you find at farmer’s markets may come from the farm that very day. Because there is no importing required, the fruits or vegetables can be harvested later. They don’t need to be plucked from the plant when they aren’t ripe.
Build Local Connections
When you buy food from the person who grows it, there’s an innately deeper connection. You can ask about the growing conditions, where the farmer learned his/her trade, or why the produce tastes so delicious. Talking to farmers helps deepen your understanding of the area in which you live. If you are an aspiring gardener, the farmers can usually offer helpful tips to yield you the best crop possible. There are stories about your community you may learn from buying locally, and this can promote more happy, healthy relationships.