About six years ago, I went to my first farmers market in downtown Austin. It was replete with locally-raised veggies and fruit, grass-fed meats and poultry along with homemade pastas and jams. I had never really given much thought to food and where it came from, so I asked lots of questions. What can you tell me about these eggs? Are the chickens well treated? Why is this carrot so small compared to the ones in the grocery store? Why is it important I buy these beets from you instead of the grocery store? I spent a lot of time getting answers I didn’t fully comprehend, but over the years and definitely now with my food as medicine passion, the answers make much more sense now. The reasons for eating local are multi-factorial, but what it comes down to is that it tastes better, its better for you, its better for your community and its better for the planet.
An article from Health Central discussed the reasons for people with diabetes to eat locally sourced food. The foods that we get from locally farmers have a higher nutrient content and are therefore more beneficial for people with weaker immune systems.
Here are 5 reasons eating locally makes sense for your health and your community from Clemson University:
1. Freshness. Local fruits and vegetables are usually harvested and sold more quickly so they do not contain the
preservatives that are added to products shipped long distances and placed in storage.
2. Taste. Produce that is ripened on the vine has better texture and flavor than produce harvested unripe, then treated
with chemicals and ripened during shipping.
3. Nutrition. Nutritional value declines — often drastically — as time passes after harvesting.
4. Improving the local economy. When you buy homegrown food, you circulate your food dollars inside the local
5. Strengthening producer/consumer relations. When purchasing food locally, consumers can ask how the product
was grown and processed, what chemicals (if any) were used, and any other questions they may have. People tend
to trust individuals they know, and they become repeat buyers.