Sunday, August 31, 2008

Romanticism and reality: Reasons to eat local

"I realize there's something romantic about the desire to know exactly where your food is from," wrote Time magazine's John Cloud.

But there's more than romanticism involved in a desire to eat locally grown food: a desire to impact the local economy, to eat better tasting and healthier produce and to make an impact on our environment.

Why eat local? For me, it started for two reasons: First, food tastes better the earlier it's eaten, and when it's shipped across the country only to sit in a grocery store, produce tends to lose its flavor and health benefits.

Second, it was about helping out the little guy and the local economy. Why not support the farmer around the corner?

But there are many other reasons to consider eating local. You can often get a better variety of produce by trying local than at the grocery. At one local market alone, I can easily find a dozen types of apples, compared to "green" or "red" at the local supermarket.

Reducing our dependence on oil is another reason to consider buying locally. The journal Food Policy even reports that locally food is "greener" than organic due to the impact of shipping for long distances. Reports the BBC:
... if all foods were sourced from within 20km of where they were consumed, environmental and congestion costs would fall from more than £2.3bn to under £230m - an "environmental saving" of £2.1bn annually.

Going local is something to consider, so why not start today? It's Going Local Week in Indiana: a weeklong "challenge" to eat at least one Indiana locally grown or produced food at each meal this week. How can you get started in an attempt to eat local?
  • Shop at local farmers markets, farm stands, and farm markets.
  • Visit an orchard or you-pick stand and harvest your own produce.
  • Ask your local grocery store or market if they sell locally grown food.
  • Support restaurants that use locally grown produce.
  • Participate in a CSA.

Links to get you started:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It does my heart good to see young "green mamas" making a change! Eating local just makes more sense, doesn't it? What a fantastic revolution.