According to the US Department of Agriculture, eating fruits and vegetables is great for your health. An essential part of eating fruits and vegetables is making sure they are fresh and one of the best ways to assure this is to eat locally grown produce. In addition to health benefits, eating local is also good for your community. Below are seven benefits of eating local produce:
1. Local Foods Are Fresher (and Tastes Better!)
Locally grown produce is much fresher than produce that has been shipped in from far away. Fresher produce means it is more flavorful and more nutritious than produce from other countries or states.
2. Local Foods Are Seasonal
Local farms allow their fruits and vegetables to ripen fully without having to use chemicals or gas to speed along this process. Eating produce in peak season means you are enjoying these foods when they are the most abundant, which in turn makes them more affordable.
3. Local Foods Help to Preserve Farmland and Green Space
Purchasing locally grown vegetables and fruits helps maintain and preserve the green space and farmland in your local community.
4. Local Foods Promote Food Safety
The fewer processes between your produces’ source and your plate, the fewer the chances are for contamination. For example, if there is a large outbreak of e.coli in lettuce grown in California but the lettuce in your kitchen is from a local farm here in Alabama, you know your produce is safe to consume.
5. Local Foods Stimulate Variety
Farmers who participate in local markets and supply to local restaurants have the demand to be able to grow more types of fruits and vegetables. More variety means instead of simply having “tomatoes” you are able to choose from a multiple assortment of tomato types such as “lemon boys”, “brandywines” and early girls”.
6. Local Foods Support Your Community’s Economy
Buying produce from local farmers and restaurants keeps your money close to home. This works to build the economy in your community instead of a corporation in another state or country. Since the produce travels through fewer hands, more of the money spent actually gets back to those who grew it.
7. Local Foods Create a Sense of Community
Buying locally grown produce and knowing where your food is from unites you to those who grow and raise it. Instead of having a relationship with a corporate supermarket, you develop smaller relationships to multiple food sources. Developing these personal relationships with growers at local farmer’s markets can be beneficial to you. For example, they can personally let you know when your favorite variety of bean will be available or when the strawberries you love will be on sale.
Medical West is making it easy and convenient for you to get locally grown produce by hosting a Farmer’s Market right here at the hospital! Join Pinkston Farms on Level C every Wednesday from 9 A.M. until 4 P.M. for a large selection of fresh and local vegetables, fruits and plants - all at a reasonable price!