Lately, many have begun to see the consumption of locally-grown food as a trend, and we have seen a lot of people jump on this so-called trend, and are reaping from the benefits of eating locally-grown food.
But the truth is that eating locally grown food is much more than a trend. It is a lifestyle choice that can bring numerous benefits to your health and well-being and also to your environment.
Before we delve into the benefits of consuming locally-grown food, let us clearly define what locally-grown food is and what it is not.
What are Locally-Grown Foods?
Locally-grown or locally-produced food is food that is grown, produced, processed, and distributed within a specific region. It is food that is grown in your local area and maybe within a 100-mile radius of where you live.
Locally grown food excludes foods that are imported from other regions, and because it is grown around your environment, there is a direct connection between the farmer who grows it and you as the consumer.
While many will call the consumption of this type of food a trend, don’t be deceived by the word “trend,” which sometimes means something temporary or faddish. Eating locally is here to stay.
Here are the top 8 benefits of eating locally-grown food:
The Benefits of Eating Locally-Grown Food
You can reap a tonne of benefits from eating locally-grown and produced foods, not just for your body but also for your community and environment. Some of the benefits include;
1. It is good for your health
Studies have shown that foods that haven’t been picked too early or shipped for thousands of miles are rich in vitamins and minerals that can be lost from long storage. In addition, fruits and vegetables eaten close to their harvest date are more likely to contain higher levels of antioxidants than those harvested earlier in the season. This means they’re good for your health and may reduce your risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
2. Improved freshness and nutrition of foods
When you buy local foods, you’re getting the freshest produce possible. This is because most local farmers grow their crops directly for the market and don’t ship them long distances before selling them. The result is that you get better-tasting fruits and vegetables with more nutrients than those that have been shipped over long distances. The fresher your food, the better it is for you.
3. It reduces food wastage
Food waste is a big problem. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately one-third of all food produced worldwide ends up in the trash bin. This happens because much of the food that is grown or processed for export have to travel long distances before reaching its destination, which can result in damage and spoilage during transport. Local foods don’t have this problem—they’re sold directly from farmers to consumers.
4. Reduce environmental impacts from food transport
The way food is transported has become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and food that’s grown close to home typically doesn’t have to be shipped very far. This means less diesel fuel and greenhouse gases from trucks, planes, or ships carrying your groceries from a faraway place.
Eating local foods reduces your carbon footprint. If you’re looking to do more for the planet, eating locally is an easy way to start. Try making some changes to how you source your food, and see how much of a difference it makes!
5. No GMOs or Pesticides
One of the biggest benefits of eating locally grown foods is that you don’t have to worry about GMOs or pesticides. As mentioned above, local farmers use organic methods instead of genetically modified organisms. They also do not use chemical pesticides and instead rely on natural pest control methods. You can feel good about the food you’re eating and rest assured that it’s safe for your family.
6. It builds community
Another benefit of eating locally grown food is that it builds community. The local food movement is about strengthening relationships between farmers and consumers, between consumers and each other, and between consumers and their communities.
These relationships are built by creating an understanding of where our food comes from. You can learn about the people who grow your food, what they care about, and what you care about, and why we should all be eating more locally grown foods to make our communities healthier places for ourselves, our children, and future generations.
7. Support local businesses and get to know your local farmers
Eating locally-grown foods is also a way of supporting local businesses and economies. Buying from your local farmers means that you are supporting the people who grow your food, which in turn supports their families and communities. You are also helping to keep money in the community, which means that other local businesses benefit from this as well.
By supporting local farmers, you are keeping your money in your community and helping to strengthen it.
8. Greater transparency and control in the food system
Knowing where your food comes from is important, and it’s increasingly difficult to determine the origin of the food you consume.
When you buy local food, it is more likely that you will know where it comes from, who grows it, and how it is grown. Farmers’ markets and online farmers’ marketplaces like Local Chow are one of the best places to find information about the people who grow your food.
At these farmers’ markets, small farmers can interact with customers directly and talk about how they farm without having to go through middlemen or distributors.
The great thing about eating locally-grown food is that it’s not just good for your health, it’s also good for the environment. A lot of people believe that eating locally grown foods is one of the best ways to combat climate change and protect our planet.
When you buy local food, you’re supporting a system that’s better for the environment and your community. Local farms tend to use less energy and water than large-scale operations, so they have less of an impact on the planet. They also create jobs for people who live in your area—and those jobs are more likely to pay a living wage.
So, if you’re looking for easy ways to help out Mother Earth, consider switching out some non-local items on your menu with local produce instead!