Author | Sarah Koszyk Sustainability. Local. Low-carbon foot print. Fresh. These are the hot words right now on the market regarding the explosion of food and food shopping. So what does local mean? According to Jessica Prentice from the San Francisco Bay Area for World Environment, she coined the term, “locavore” in 2005 meaning that one practices eating foods from within a 100 mile radius of where they live. So how does one eat only local foods and what’s the point?

Reason #1 for buying locally food grown: Cost.

Buying locally grown food can mean buying cheaper food since it is made nearby and you may not have to buy certified organic food (which is more expensive due to cost of certification). Talk directly to the farmer and ask questions on how the food was grown, were pesticides used, were the animals cage-free and hormone-free. Many small farmers practice pesticide-free organic practices but are not certified organic due to the extensive application process and the high certification cost. Take advantage of this low-cost, non-organic process and eat the fresh, local, seasonal food.

Reason #2 for buying locally food grown: Smaller carbon foot print.

When we eat locally grown food, we use less gas and energy. For example: less of a commute from the farm to the market equals less gas used. Have you ever thought how much energy and gas it takes to transport a banana from Ecuador?

Reason #3 for buying locally food grown: Support local businesses.

Buying from local farmers means supporting local businesses. Supporting local businesses is a great way to improve our community and our local economy. Farmer’s markets can allow farmers to keep about 80 to 90 cents of every dollar spent by the consumer.  

Reason #4 for buying locally food grown: Increase variety.

Don’t know how to eat a particular fruit or vegetable? Talk to the farmer and ask him/her how to prepare the produce. Get a new recipe idea. Try 1 new produce at least once a month. You’ll expand your current food repertoire while gaining more culinary knowledge.

Reason #5 for buying locally food grown: Eating Seasonal.

The power of eating food during the season it is harvested means you get the freshest food possible. The fresher the food, the more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals the food retains which optimizes the benefits you get from the food when you eat it.

How to start eating locally: Visit your local farmer’s market this weekend!

You can buy fruits, veggies, nuts, breads, jams, honey, oils, sauces, eggs, beef, chicken, fish, flowers, and more. One may not even need to go to a grocery store for packaged and canned products due to having so many options and whole foods at the various farmers markets. Check out this website from the USDA to find a local farmer’s market around you simply by typing in your zip code. Or check out this website from Local Harvest to find which produce is produced in what region.

Eat Fresh, Eat Whole, Buy Local. Bon appétit!

Sarah Koszyk is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach at MV Nutrition and Eating Free where she coaches her clients to reach their successful weight goals. She was the recipient of Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award 2011 and Recognized Dietitian of the Year Award 2011 from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Contact Sarah today to set up your free consultation.