March is National Nutrition Month for the United States! Putting a focus on nutritional foods packed with vitamins and minerals during March can jumpstart your health and lower the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes. While intentionally eating healthy foods is a great start, try adding in locally sourced foods for added benefits.
How does one eat local produce? Simple. Grab your weekly groceries at a farmers’ market, eat at restaurants that source their ingredients locally, visit local farms, and mix-in seasonal produce. Any food grown within 100 miles of you is considered local. Not only is eating local foods typically more nutritional, but there are many more benefits to sourcing local produce, check them out below!
Greater Nutritional Benefits
The longer produce must travel to get to your table, the greater the loss in nutritional value. Farmers’ markets provide food that is grown in the season it was meant to be grown in. This means nearly 100% of the food’s nutritional value is preserved from the time it is picked to the time it reaches your plate. For example, the peak season for strawberries is in June, as this is when the weather and soil conditions are ideal to produce a perfect, ripe strawberry, full of nutritional value. Strawberries from your local farms will be much higher in nutritional value than strawberries imported and shipped from overseas, or even other states.
Creates a Stronger Local Economy
Local businesses are owned by your friends and neighbors who live in the community, so purchasing local produce keeps that money invested in your town’s economy. Buying from local farmers ensures that farmers retain more profit and then in turn can create more jobs to benefit the local economy.
Reduces the Environmental Footprint
Transporting food all around the country creates a big carbon footprint! Food being imported from long distances requires a lot of fuel that is then released into the environment and shipping food requires wasteful materials for packaging. By purchasing food locally, travel emissions and air pollution are reduced or even eliminated.
Eating local has More Flavor
With locally grown foods typically being fresher, that means they are tastier at their peak ripeness! Plus, fewer pesticides and preservatives are used when buying local food, which gets rid of potentially harmful chemicals from entering your body.