5 Benefits of Eating Locally Sourced Food
Despite the fact that it’s currently a major growing trend around the globe, locally sourced food isn’t some newfangled fad or wildly-radical concept. Unlike, of course, the Unicorn Frappuccino (no thanks) or novelty Oreo flavors such as “Candy Corn” or “Peeps” (Why, Oreo? Why?!). Locally sourced food is simply going back to the original methods us humans have used to grow and obtain our food for thousands of years.
You might be asking, why is locally sourced food better and why is this trend presently picking up so much steam? There are many benefits to sourcing our food from local farms rather than supporting the global food model that requires much more time and energy to bring food to us from distant parts of the world. Here are the top five reasons and benefits of eating local food whether you are choosing this option for organic catering or simply purchasing locally sourced farmer’s market foods for your family.
Locally Sourced Food Tastes Better
Plain and simple, locally sourced food is packed with flavor. When it comes to produce, locally produced crops are left to completely ripen and develop their full flavor potential before being harvested, verses having to be picked early to be shipped and distributed across the world to a supermarket near you. Additionally, local produce at farmers markets or local stores has most often been picked within 24 hours of arrival.
Similarly, locally sourced dairy, meats and seafood taste better because they’re fresher. Driving down to the harbor to places like Catalina Offshore Products (or your local fishermen’s boats) to pick up that morning’s fresh catch directly, or picking up a few steaks from the local farmers market is going to taste a heck of a lot better than something that has been frozen for weeks at time in order to travel from some far-off place to arrive on your plate.
Locally Sourced Food is Healthier
Another major advantage of buying local is that it’s healthier. For one, fully-ripened fruits and veggies benefit from another side effect in addition to having reached their maximum flavor potential: a higher nutritional value. The longer luscious leafy greens and perfectly plump peaches and berries have to develop and ripen, the more time they have to generate nutrients. Also, because the food is fresher and takes less time to reach to you, all that amazing nutrient value that was allowed to develop hasn’t diminished while sitting on a truck or in a distribution center for weeks.
Food that isn’t locally sourced has a much higher chance of becoming unsafe to eat. The farther food has to travel, the more stages of shipping and distribution it goes through, the higher the odds of it becoming contaminated. By having access to food that’s grown nearby, you skip many steps it would normally take to get to your table. Hence, we have the accurate yet highly overused term to describe locally sourced food known as “farm to table”.
Lastly, locally sourced food is much more likely to be grown organically and be a GMO free food (GMOs, for the record, have been deemed by 60 nations around the globe as unsafe to eat). This is healthier for literally everyone involved. In terms or organic practices, farmers aren’t spraying the foods you consume with harmful pesticides. Plus, our farmers aren’t getting sprayed by them either, a problem that causes many farmers to develop serious health problems from direct contact.
Locally Sourced Food is Better for the Environment
One of the other wonderful benefits of eating locally is that by doing so you’re also helping to support practices that are more sustainable and better for the environment. The more people in the world who buy local and seasonal foods, the less shipping of foods from distant origins occurs. Transporting food from the other side of the world takes a major toll on the environment in regard to all of the energy consumed by trucks, ships, trains, etc., and greatly expands the carbon footprint we leave on our planet.
Since locally sourced food is more often than not grown organically that means it’s not only healthier for us humans, but also for Mother Earth. As an organic catering company, all of us at Eco Caters are greatly invested in doing our part to cook with, promote, and support organic farming practices and the well-being of our environment.
Local Farmers Can Tell You How the Food Was Grown
If you’ve never had the chance to chat with a farmer selling his or her products to consumers first-hand, being able to hear straight from the source how your fruits and vegetables are grown and raised is a very underrated experience. It helps to connect you to your surrounding environment and makes you stop and think about how you’re choosing to nourish your body.
Most of us are used to the rather disconnected practice of going to the supermarket and selecting products we know next to nothing about in terms of traceability and how they were grown. A seemingly minor exchange with a local farmer can transform how we see food in general, its value, and the importance of all the effort that goes into growing quality products.
Creates Community and Supports the Local Economy
All of us have an interest in making our own community a better place for ourselves, our children, family members and friends. One of the really great ways to do this is through food. Why? Well, because every significant event in our lives is centered around it. We eat when we’re happy. We eat when we’re sad. Whether it’s a birthday party, a graduation, a retirement party, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, even funerals, food is an integral and essential part of our society and local community.
Some of the bestbenefits of eating local foods come from extending and enhancing our community through our connections and traditions, and making new traditions along the way.
A fantastic side effect of eating local food is that the money invested in local products (rather than paying for imported items), typically stays close to home. Better still, when it’s reinvested in other businesses, programs and services within the area that ultimately creates a healthy, self-sustaining and thriving community.