Spring has officially sprung and CSA’s, local farmers markets and backyard gardens are springing up everywhere! Depending on where you live, there is or will soon be local markets popping up everywhere bringing a bounty of fresh, wholesome and delicious local eggs, meat and produce.
Fruits and veggies from local farms don’t have to travel nearly as far, so they can be picked when they’re ripe and brought to you within just a day or two. Delaying harvest like this will allow the produce to absorb more nutrients from the soil, and you end up with delicious and nutritious local veggies in your fridge every week.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are at their most nutritious when they’re picked at the peak of ripeness. When shipped to the mass-market grocery store from thousands of miles away, produce has to be picked early so that they arrive at the store before they spoil. Given that many foods stop ripening after they’ve been plucked from the plant, this presents a problem: the fruits and veggies that have traveled a long way are often depleted in beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Keeping cash in the community in which you live is not just important to those who are getting your money, it also can help the community as a whole bounce back financially when hard times hit. It increases the velocity of money in the community, meaning that money is moved more quickly from person to person and more people benefit from it in a shorter amount of time. Buying from locally-owned businesses (and that includes farms) keeps more money in the community. When you purchase vine-ripened (and therefore nutrient-rich) tomatoes, for example, your farmer is able to turn around and spend that money on things like seeds for next year, maintenance on his machinery, wages for his employees, or expansions to his farm. And when he spends his hard-earned money on these kinds of things you benefit as well. More space means more veggies!
Shopping locally means you help cut down on the carbon footprint of our food supply. Products that have to travel shorter distances have fewer energy costs than those that come from thousands of miles away. Think of how you’d get a berry from South America to your kitchen? Produce in grocery stores comes from all over the country and sometimes from as far away as Chile or Spain! While this tendency to import transcontinental produce our food provides us with a wider variety of fruits and vegetables all year round, the massive environmental costs add up.
So check out your local CSA’s, farmers markets and support your neighborhood grocers who sell local produce. We hope these three reasons you need to be shopping local will act as a catalyst for you and your family. Let’s all do our part.