5 Benefits of Eating Locally and Seasonally
While many of us like the idea of eating locally, getting back to our roots and foraging for foods isn’t exactly realistic for all of us. So how can we be sure we’re getting the best-tasting foods for our bodies while helping our local community? One way that we can accomplish this is eating seasonal foods within a smaller geographic radius. The benefits of eating locally include health improvements, boosting your community, and minding your wallet.
1. It can be less expensive.
Farmers markets can offer many local and seasonal foods at lower prices than grocery stores. Produce that is grown in season, when the weather is best for the plants, typically grows well. As a result, farmers often have a surplus of crops, which makes them willing to sell at a lower price. Everyone may not have a farmer’s market close to them, but even buying seasonal foods in the grocery store is cheaper than buying foods out of season.
2. It is a more sustainable practice.
Produce often comes from across the world to reach the consumer, traveling thousands of miles before it even reaches the grocery store. Foods that are grown locally don’t have to travel as far to get to you, reducing the amount of pollution released as food is transported.
3. Foods are fresher and more flavorful.
When foods don’t have to travel as far to get to the consumer, they are fresher and don’t require as much processing to extend their shelf life. Foods that are consumed closer to when they are picked also have a higher nutrient content. Foods that are in season and at their peak of flavor this fall include apples, bell peppers, beets, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, pears, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
4. It supports the local community.
When you purchase from local farms, your purchases directly benefit the local economy, with the money going from consumers to farmers without many middlemen. Farmers can use this money to reinvest in the community by buying supplies from local businesses.
5. It puts you more in touch with your food.
When you purchase local food at markets, you get to interact with the farmers who produce it. Talking with farmers allows you to understand where your food is coming from and how it is grown, which can help you gain a greater appreciation for your food.
Looking for a farmers market near you? Try using the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. A trip to the market could be a fun date or a bonding trip with family or friends!
Overall, the benefits of eating locally and seasonally are worth paying attention to. This year, set the goal of building healthy habits for your body, budget, and community.