I know it’s unusual for me to blog on the weekend, but I have two great reasons for doing so, which just happen to be related.
First of all, today is Blog Action Day 2011, an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Since For Blog Action Day 2011 coincides with World Food Day, participants have been invited to talk about food. This is a topic that affects each and every one of us, since we all rely on food to stay alive, but since I am by no means qualified to discuss world hunger or other global issues, I’ve decided to think local.
Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly aware of the advantages of buying and eating food that is grown locally. These benefits include:
- Eliminating the need for long-distance transportation means less impact on the environment.
- Because food is transported shorter distances, it’s fresher when you buy it, so it not only tastes better, but won’t spoil before you get around to eating it.
- You support your local economy.
- If you shop at farmers’ markets or other small businesses, you get to talk to the people who actually produce the food you eat. It hasn’t gone from the farm to a warehouse to a factory to a distribution centre to a retail outlet (and I’m sure I left out a few steps!). I have a friend who said he likes the market, but finds the prices too high. Seriously? He should see the big bags of fresh produce I bring home for not much more than I’d spend at the grocery store for food that isn’t nearly as good. Plus, the vendors know me and often give me a deal or an extra zucchini or tomato. Does your supermarket do that?
Those are my reasons. If you need more, you can download 10 Reasons to Eat Local Food from Life Begins at 30, or watch this video:
It can be a real challenge to eat local when you live in a region with a fairly short growing season, but that’s no reason not to make an effort to do so as much as possible. Foodland Ontario has a great chart on their website to help you find out what’s in season. If you don’t live in Ontario, you can probably find something similar for your area. Plan your meals around those foods. If you have the time, the inclination, and the storage space, consider freezing or canning your favourites so you can enjoy them throughout the year.
But don’t just stick to your favourites – try something new, even if you didn’t like it in the past. Our tastes change as we mature, and you might even find that eating food when it’s really fresh makes a big difference.
And eating local isn’t just about fruits and vegetables! All the same benefits apply when you buy meat, eggs, dairy and other products that are produced locally.
Are you committed to eating local food? Where do you get yours?