7 benefits of eating local food
Updated: Feb 25
Eating locally grown foods has many benefits for the consumer, grower, and the community.
We all know that our farmers' markets and roadside stands in the Pacific Northwest offer an abundance of locally grown food from persimmons, parsnips, broccoli, and lettuces. Additionally, farmers who have greenhouses offer greens early in the growing season. Providing options to purchase locally grown food has many benefits. The University of Washington suggests the following benefits of buying locally grown food.
1. Local foods are fresher. Produce begins to lose valuable nutrients the moment they get picked. Local produce cuts down travel time from farm to table.
2. Local foods are seasonal. True, it would be great to have fresh tomatoes and berries all year round, but eating within season meaning the avoidance or "artificial ripening" with gases or eating a bland version of a fruit or vegetable shipped form thousands of miles away. Eating by season results in the most delicious and nutrient-dense produce.
3. Local foods are better for the environment. Some foods are shipped thousands of miles literally; that is a significant carbon footprint easily avoided by purchasing local and seasonal foods.
4. Local foods preserve green space and farmland. The environmental question of where your food comes from is more prominent than its carbon footprint. Buying foods grown and raised closer to where you live helps maintain farmland and green space in your area.
5. Local foods promote food safety. Less distance between your food's source and your kitchen table leaves less of a chance of contamination.
6. Local foods promote variety. Local foods create a greater variety of foods. Farmers who run CSA (community-supported agriculture) programs, sell at farmers' markets, and provide food to local restaurants have the demand and the economic support for raising more types of produce and livestock.
7. Local foods support your local economy. Money spent locally stays local. Purchasing local builds your local economy instead of handing over the earnings to a corporation in another city, state, or country. Also, since the food itself moves through fewer hands, more of the money you spend will end up in the pockets of those raising and growing those foods.
8. Local foods create community. Ever find yourself spending much of your time at the farmers market chatting and socializing in addition to purchasing your produce? Getting to know your farmer, cheese purveyor, fishmonger, butcher, workers at your local co-op, etc., creates a sense of community.
Additionally, restaurants can also benefit from sourcing their produce, meats, and other foods from the local growing region. Many local 'CSA' companies are already in the restaurant sourcing business like Goose and Gander, who are already focusing their efforts to bring our local bounty to our plates when we dine out.
Restaurants should think about how they can add even more locally grown foods to their menus. By doing so, they are supporting the many benefits of nourishing its local community. Then, by patronizing these restaurants, you are also, in turn, supporting the local economy and doing right by yourself. Check out our variety of restaurant partners who source locally and are committed to keeping high food quality and delicious nourishment for our bodies.