Fresh Local Produce: Its Benefits to the Body, Economy, and the Environment
Coconuts from Hawaii, Durian fruit from Thailand, jackfruit from Southeast Asia – these exotic fruits are usually unavailable to us unless a friend from those regions visit us. These days, supermarkets offer these kinds of imported produce either frozen or ‘fresh’. The latter being a cause of suspicion because most of the time, exotic produce sold in supermarkets are riddled with chemicals to extend its freshness and shelf life. Obviously, this is not healthy for anyone. Though we may crave for some fresh coconuts or try fresh jackfruit, there’s no way of knowing that those that we buy in the supermarket aren’t full of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Instead of that, why not opt for fresh local produce? The farmer’s market is a place where so many local and seasonal fruits and vegetables are sold, plus some are even grown organically.
Local and seasonal produce are good for us. Here’s why.
They Are More Nutritious
Fruits and vegetables grow and mature in various times and seasons. We all know that fresh produce is best consumed when it is properly ripe as it is more delicious and more nutritious at the right time of their harvest. Eating them soon after picking up is a lot healthier and that can happen only when it is local produce. Produce that comes from far off places are not just harvested earlier but they go through a lot of chemical treatment in order to stay fresh until they reach their destination. They are also stale when you finally eat them compared to local produce. The natural nutrients present in our food starts decreasing the moment they are picked up. Artificial light, and temperature changes also contribute is making them less nutritious.
The Economy Benefits From Local Produce
This is quite easy to understand! When you buy local produce, the money stays locally. In fact, farmers can reinvest the money in order to grow more food, thus giving local businesses more chances of flourishing and gaining success. It is important to help your local farmer than giving your money to a big chain of national or international supermarket. Some experts also have this idea that if we buy from local farmers, in times of emergency, they might be willing to take money after the crisis is over. Or we can even bring back the barter system. This is, of course, unthinkable if you are a regular customer at a hypermarket or supermarket.
Local Produce Helps The Environment
It might sound weird, but buying local produce does help the environment. There is a difference between eating food that is picked fresh from a tree and buying food that has gone through a few steps before reaching your kitchen. When there are more steps between the produce and your kitchen, there are higher chances of food contamination. You may never know whether the crops have been grown organically or have been treated with pesticides or herbicides? At the same time, transporting them from far off places leave behind major carbon footprints. Local farmers also help maintain farmlands and cultivated land which further helps keep the environment green.
Local Produce Helps The Community Grow Stronger
There is a vast difference between buying from the supermarket and shopping around at the local farmer’s market. The farmer’s market provides a much relaxed setting where people chat with each other, and take it easy as they buy not just local produce, but food made from scratch, hand-made candies and baked goodies, and even saplings. The interaction between farmer and customer builds and strengthens social relationships and brings a sense of togetherness.
It Gives More Power To The Consumer
Locally grown food gives more power to the consumer because the consumer gets to know exactly where the food on their table has come from. They also get to know how the food was grown, organically or otherwise. This helps him have more power over their choices, staying away and saying no to food grown with chemical fertilizers.
One thing that deters people from buying locally grown produce is the steep price. Though it is costly, imagine the amount of energy being used up to send produce grown in faraway countries or states. If you do care for our planet, you will know how important it is to save the environment is any way we can. So, head to your local farmer’s market this weekend, exchange stories with the local farmers, and eat the freshest produce!
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