The purported benefits of eating locally produced foods are many:
- Eating local is good for local economies, supporting local growers and allowing those growers to hang on to a greater proportion of their food dollar that would otherwise be spent on processing, packaging, refrigeration and transportation of their product.
- Eating food that is grown locally helps reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere by reducing the distance food has to travel to reach your plate. This means less fossil fuel is used in the transportation of our food across the country or even across the globe.
- Not having to worry about transportation helps local growers focus on flavor and nutritional value rather than sturdiness of the produce to survive in a box in a refrigerated truck on the road to a long-distance destination.
- Local produce can be picked at its peak of freshness, flavor and nutritional content and delivered to grocers, farmers markets or restaurants in the area on the day of harvest, thereby retaining their water-soluble nutrients and antioxidants.
- Local growers tend to deal with a greater variety of crops, increasing the biodiversity of our food supply and protecting otherwise unknown or little-used heirloom varieties.
This article was originally published in Edible Reno-Tahoe Magazine and is republished here with permission of its authors, Jana Vanderhaar and Heidi Kratsch.
For more information, contact the Local Food Network.