#ShopLocal means more than just shopping at your closest store or buying from your downtown shops – you can also purchase locally-sourced food! There are a ton of benefits from buying locally sourced food – including economic, social, environmental, and health benefits.
Benefits of eating locally
When you buy food that’s locally grown, you’re not just helping yourself, but also the whole world around you! Your purchase has a positive impact on the environment, the economy, the farmer, and your family’s health. Check out some of the top benefits of eating locally-grown foods:
- Locally sourced food is more flavorful. When crops are grown locally, they are able to be picked right at the peak of ripeness because they don’t need to be shipped and distributed, allowing more time to harvest.
- Locally-grown food is better for the environment. Each purchase helps to maintain and preserve the farmland and green space that’s in your community. Locally-grown food also means the distribution chain is shorter, thus wasting less food that might usually spoil in trucks or warehouses.
- Learn more about your food when you buy locally. You get the opportunity to ask the farmer more about the practices they use to grow and harvest their crops.
- Get more nutrients out of locally grown foods. Because there’s less time between harvest and consumption, the nutrient value will be higher than if the food had to be imported from far away.
- Support your local economy. Keep your money close to home when you buy locally-sourced food. Most of the money spent actually goes to the people who grew it, and helps to build your local economy as opposed to a corporation in another state or country.
- Eat seasonally when you eat locally. Not only are foods in season more affordable, but they also taste much better and are more flavorful.
- Locally-grown foods are safer to eat. Because there are fewer steps between a local farm and your table, there’s less of a chance of food contamination. When food is grown farther away, there are greater chances of issues during harvesting, washing, shipping, and distribution.
Tips on how to eat locally
Are you sold on the idea of buying locally-sourced food, but not sure how to go about it? Well, we’ve got you covered. Read on for some easy ways to eat local:
- Shop at your local farmer’s market. Fun, friendly farmer’s markets are one of the best ways to find delicious, locally-grown food. You can support small farms, chat with local farmers to learn about their food, and gain a greater sense of community. You can find a farmer’s market in your neighborhood using this guide.
- Eat food that’s in season. Produce that is in season has a better chance of being grown locally, and will usually be labeled as such. Not only will seasonal produce taste better, but it will have traveled a much shorter distance than a New Yorker buying a mango in January.
- Grow your own food. While harvesting your own food is easier said than done, you can always start small when setting out to grow your own – try starting out with something like an indoor herb garden.
- Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Members of a CSA pay a fee (before the season starts) to get a weekly share of a local farm’s harvest that year. This way, the farmer can plan exactly how much to plant and spend more time tending to the farm instead of marketing their produce. On the consumer side, it’s great because members receive a box of fresh fruits and veggies each week. A lot of CSA’s also have eggs, dairy, meat, bread, grains, or beans.
With all of the benefits that come with buying your produce locally, you might be asking yourself why you didn’t start shopping locally sooner. Or maybe you’re simply too busy to go to the farmer’s market, buy fresh produce, and create a meal of your own with the ingredients. That’s where we come in. Not only do we offer delicious, chef-prepared meals with the push of a microwave button, but we also try to use local ingredients where possible. We are proud to partner with 44 Farms and use their beef in most of our beef dishes, like our Buffalo Ranch Burger and Korean BBQ Meatballs. Try one of our dishes today!