The first step to understanding why you should eat like a localvore, is to understand what one is. A localvore is someone who eats food that’s grown locally. It’s that simple. How locally? Well, that depends on how strict you want to be with it. But a good rule of thumb is to aim for consuming food that’s been grown within 100 miles of where you buy it from, or where you’re about to consume it. There are few reasons why it’s beneficial to eat locally:
It’s possibly better for your health
You’re probably wondering how a tomato that’s grown down the street might be better for you than one that’s grown elsewhere. They’re both tomatoes, right? Well, the tomato that’s grown locally often has been shown to retain more nutrients. Local produce ripens naturally, and is picked when it’s already ripe. Whereas food that has to travel is often picked before its ripe and has to ripen in transit. That means it hasn’t spent as much time on the vine and therefore might have had less of a chance to gain more nutrients. This has even been proven scientifically as well. Researchers at Montclair State University found that the broccoli grown in season had twice the Vitamin C content compared to imported broccoli out of season.
Also, food grown locally often contains less pesticides. Local farmers tend to use less pesticides and sometimes none at all, whether they claim to be certified organic or not. Since the commercialization of organic produce, there are fees involved in becoming certified. You have to get things verified, pay a lot of money, and cross all of the t’s and dot all of the i’s. For a lot of local farmers, that can be more of a hassle than it’s worth. So your local farmers may actually grow organic produce, without being able to claim it. Additionally, even if they aren’t entirely organic, small farmers tend to use fewer chemicals than large farms anyway. It’s less work to care for a small farm, and they don’t need the added protection of tons of chemicals.
It’s also better for the environment
One obvious way that eating more local food helps the environment is related to transporting the food. The emissions of big delivery trucks add up quickly when they’re driving thousands of miles from the farm to your grocery store. So, you can feel better about your carbon footprint when you support the local farmer.
Local food also helps preserve green space. Local farmers turn empty lots into thriving fields of green. So, supporting your local grower even helps reduce the number of big housing developments, or shopping malls near you. Which in turn, makes for healthier air quality, and a less hot planet.
So where do you get this local produce? Farmers markets are the best way to connect with your local farmers. They’ll have fresh, in season produce and likely lots of it. Plus, farmers markets happen nearly every weekend, so if you time it right, you’ll save yourself an extra weekly shopping trip. Just make it part of your routine, and you won’t regret it. Additionally, some stores such as Whole Foods often have delineations as to which products are locally sourced. However, if you’re still struggling to find the local goods, check out this online tool from Local Harvest. https://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/