Eating local foods is not only much more sustainable and much better in terms of the environment, but it is often more convenient too. Most of the food that you are buying from supermarkets has probably come half way across the world, which means you are paying for transportation costs and also, the food isn’t going to be as fresh; not to mention the negative impact on the environment that this has.
The good news is that eating locally is a lot easier than you might think and we have a few simple tips that we’d like to share with you that we think will make it a lot easier.
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, it is likely that there are some delicious fruits and vegetables growing in your local area that you might not even know about. By learning what’s in season at different times of the year in the area you live in, you can learn what to expect from local farmers markets and what is likely to have been grown locally.
You might be surprised at what you find to be growing in your area throughout the year. Remember, you don’t need to be living in an exotic climate to find great fruits and veggies; in fact, many of the most widely eaten fruits and vegetables are grown in cool, wet climates.
Of course, you don’t always have to go out and buy the foods that you eat as there is the option ofgrowing them yourself. If you have a small garden, then growing your own fruits and vegetables is definitely a possibility. It is a common misconception that growing great food in your garden requires a lot of time and attention, but truthfully, it isn’t that hard.
Even if you don’t have a garden, you can grow vegetables such as potatoes in outdoor growing bags or pots. You can also rent and allotment for just a few dollars per week too. There is so much you can grow including herbs and even a range of vegetables. You can even raise animals; raising chickens is a good place to start.
Most of us tend to do all our grocery shopping at the local supermarkets these days which is bad news for our local farming industries. Farmers markets not only usually offer locally grown produce, but it is often much tastier and fresher too.
There are usually local farmers markets within just a few miles of wherever you live (checklocalharvest.org for listing of markets and CSAs). You can often find some decent bargains at these markets and you can also expect to be greeted with a lot more friendliness than you’ll find at your local supermarket.
One thing to note with farmers markets is that you should be wary as many don’t always have the same guidelines. For example, if you see bananas at your local farmers market, you should be very cautious unless you live in Florida!
Eating locally goes beyond the food that you are consuming in your own house, as many of us often eat out these days. Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants are much like the big supermarkets and will purchase their ingredients in bulk in order to save costs. Finding restaurants that source their ingredients locally is a great way of eating locally. Usually, these aren’t too difficult to find either as most of them market the fact that they use local produce quite well.
If you live in the countryside or by the sea, you are more likely to be able to find restaurants that use local produce. However, just because you are by the sea; don’t assume that restaurants will be using locally caught fish as this is unfortunately not always the case.
Check out Farm to Table’s local food restaurant reviews.
It is close to impossible to buy absolutely all of the food you consume from locally grown sources, so chances are that some of your grocery shopping will still need to be done at the local supermarket. If this is the case, you can still buy produce that is grown using sustainable methods by searching for fair trade produce.
Most supermarkets have their fair share of fair trade products these days and it is a great option if you can’t source something locally. If a product is fair trade, it means that the workers have been paid a fair rate too.
As you can see, eating locally grown produce isn’t that hard if you follow the few tips that we mentioned in this post. Eating locally is also likely to increase your fitness and general well-being as you will be able to avoid additives, preservatives and pesticides that are now common in a lot of worldwide foods.
Contributed by Farm to Table