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6 reasons to eat local food

Girl eating peas

Credit: iStockphoto

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I've come up with 6 excellent reasons to eat local food. Can you come up with more?

  1. Environment: It's better for the environment because it doesn't need to be shipped, trucked, and stored, and usually has less packaging. You'll be helping reduce the amount of pollution and carbon emissions from transport, and reducing the amount of wasted energy.
  2. Taste: Local food tastes better! It's fresher because it hasn't travelled all over the nation (or the world) in cold-storage on trucks or ships. You get the food much quicker after it's been made or harvested. For example, winter tomatoes from a national supermarket never taste good - they're bred for their ability to be stacked and stored for lengthy periods of time, not for their taste. Summer tomatoes, grown locally and maybe from an unusual heirloom variety, will be juicier and better-textured.
  3. Community: You're helping support your local economy, instead of contributing to the fat bonuses of corporate multinational CEOs. Small businesses depend on our participation, and are often the backbone of a community.
  4. Health: Unless you live in the middle of a chocolate and beer region (and if so, lucky you!), there's a good chance you'll be eating more healthy food. Processed, sugary snacks are often hard to find from local sources, since it's easier to mass-produce them in a factory and ship them interstate. Meanwhile, fresh fruit and vegies, olive oils, native herbs and spices, nuts and milk and bread are much easier to source from your local area.
  5. Information: If you're health-conscious or prefer organic foods, it's much easier to find out the origins and processing of a local food than one made far away. You can actually meet or call the farmer or owner, and have a chat about how they run their business. This in turn gives them an incentive to do the right thing, since they're likely to be questioned on it! Most of the reports about unsafe food practices come from multinational food processors who don't feel obliged to communicate with their customers, or worried that anyone will find out if they're cutting corners on safety or health.
  6. It's fun! Going to farmer's markets or joining a Community Supported Agriculture group (more on those in a future blog post) is way more fun than trudging around supermarkets with a trolley. You get to meet and chat with the people who grow your food, and are more likely to get free taste tests!