Support your local community and benefit from a healthier diet too!
Eating locally doesn’t just benefit the environment through lowering transport and storage of the food we consume, but it has some nutritional benefits as well. Not only are you lowering your carbon footprint on mother earth and putting more money into the pockets of our local farmers, but you are also benefiting your health and wellbeing as well!
LOCAL PRODUCE IS FRESHER AND TASTIER
When you buy local, whether from a local farm, a farmers market or from your own backyard, the food you buy hasn’t undergone lengthy storage and transport to get to you and is therefore much fresher than if you were to buy from a major supermarket. Bananas are a prime example of this; they are picked while they are still green and hard, transported and then ripened through the use of ethylene gas. Ethylene is a class 3 carcinogen. When you buy local, especially from local farmers’ markets, the food has usually been picked within 24 hours and not needed artificial ripening as it has ripened the way nature intended.
EATING FROM YOUR FARMERS MARKET HELPS YOU EAT WITH THE SEASONS
Not eating with the seasons comes with the same issues as not eating local; unfortunately, it contributes to pollution due to the distance food must travel in order to get to us. Most food is available year-round thanks to importation and therefore a lot of out of season food is transported, sometimes from other countries.
As with non-local produce, food is picked way too early and artificially ripened with chemicals such as ethylene. There are many nutrients naturally present in certain foods that are created when the food ripens – this doesn’t occur in artificial ripening and so we miss out on these wonderful nutrients when we don’t eat seasonally.
YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM
When you buy your produce from local farmers or the local farmers market, you usually meet the grower personally and get to ask where the food was grown, how it was grown and get a feel for the conditions your food has met before it lands on your plate. When you buy your food from major supermarket chains you really have little idea where your food has come from; local, interstate, from overseas… your guess is as good as mine, really.
LOCAL PRODUCE YIELDS HIGHER NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Several factors contribute to the nutritional quality of our food such as growing methods, ripeness when harvested, the handling of our food once picked, its storage and of course the distance transported before it actually makes it onto your plate.
Certain fruits and vegetables are able to produce their natural ripening chemicals after harvesting has occurred, however, some fruits such as capsicum and citrus fruits are only able to properly ripen on the plant. If a fruit or vegetable is going to be shipped to a distant location, they will be harvested before ripening as their post-harvest life is shorter if they are picked ripe.
Research has shown that nutrient content, especially for antioxidants such as vitamin C is significantly lower in foods that have been harvested too early, stored and shipped as much of our non-local food has been. Food which is allowed to ripen on the vine is much higher in nutrients making local produce the obvious choice for optimal nutrition!