May marks the official start of the “farmers’ market” season, where you will find a bounty of fresh and seasonal foods. There are multiple benefits to eating local food:
Local foods are fresher. Fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients the moment they are picked. Buying local produce cuts down travel time from farm to table.
Local foods are seasonal. It would be wonderful to have fresh tomatoes and berries all year round, but eating seasonally means avoiding artificial ripening with gases or eating a bland version that’s been shipped thousands of miles. Eating seasonally results in the most delicious and nutrient-dense produce.
Local foods promote food safety. Less distance between your food’s source and your kitchen table leaves less of a chance of contamination.
Local foods are better for the environment. Some foods are shipped literally thousands of miles resulting in a large carbon footprint that is avoided when purchasing local.
Local foods preserve green space and farmland. Buying foods grown and raised closer to where you live helps maintain farmland and green space in your area.
Local foods support your local economy. Money spent locally stays local. Purchasing locally builds your local economy instead of handing over the earnings to a corporation in another state or country.
Local foods create community. Getting to know your farmer, butcher, workers at your local co-op, and just chatting with other people at the farm market creates a sense of community.