At Spud, we are not a fan of long-distance relationships, especially when it comes to our food. Not only is eating locally beneficial for the environment, but also for our economy and health! Check out these 7 benefits of eating local. If you are already convinced, check out what’s in season!
Of course, in Canada, we will never be able to eat fully local. A great place to start is using the local filter on the left-hand side when shopping for produce to see what is available locally and build recipes around those items!
Health Benefits of Eating Local
1. Diversify your Diet
Having a diverse diet is recommended as it’s an easy way to ensure you maintain a balanced diet and access all essential nutrients and support your gut microbiome (1). By eating with the seasons you are automatically introducing new fruits and vegetables into your diet each season. You may find yourself trying vegetables you’ve never heard of before! Have you ever tried a sunchoke? Fiddle Head? Sea Asparagus?
2. More flavour and Nutrition:
When food is not in season locally, it’s usually shipped in from another part of the world. These foods usually need to be harvested before they are able to fully ripen so that they can endure a long shipping experience. However, when produce isn’t able to reach peak ripeness naturally, it doesn’t reach the same amount of nutritional density or flavour richness it could have.
3. Spend More Time Cooking:
This may sound like a negative to some people, but let us convince you… It is a good thing! Getting inspired by what’s in season will naturally have you cook more food at home, meaning more nutrition from whole foods, and less processed foods. Not to mention it can be FUN! Check out: 15 Recipes with Unique Root Vegetables, Recipes with Seasonal Summer Produce
Environmental Benefits of Eating Local
4. Reduce Food Miles:
Research suggests that the average distance food takes to get from farm to fork is roughly 1,346 miles or 2,166 kilometers (3). With transportation being the main contributor of greenhouse gases, eating a local diet can be one of the most powerful behavior changes we can make to tackle climate change (4).
5. Support Soil Health:
Aligning your diet with the seasons supports the diversification of local agriculture because it allows time for nutrients to be recycled back into a crop’s soil.
6. Support the Local Economy:
In Canada, “local businesses recirculate 2.6 times more revenue back into the local economy than multi-national chains” (5). In other words, when we buy from local businesses, we help build a stronger community at home. Not to mention
7. Give More To The Farmer:
When you buy food that is grown closer to home, more of your dollar is given to the farmer as there are fewer steps in the food supply chain from farm to fork (6). That means fewer middlemen that need to be paid.
8. It’s Cheaper!
When you are purchasing food that is in season, it is at the peak of its supply, this drives down the price. Lastly, since it is traveling a shorter distance it costs less to transport. Ever wonder why asparagus is cheaper in the spring? Or lemons are more expensive in the summer?
1) Mirmiran, Parvin, et al. “Dietary diversity score in adolescents-a good indicator of the nutritional adequacy of diets: Tehran lipid and glucose study.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition13.1 (2004).
2) Pollan, Michael. In Defence of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. pg. 159.
3) Pirog, Rich S., et al. “Food, fuel, and freeways: An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions.” (2001).
4) Chapman, Lee. “Transport and climate change: a review.” Journal of transport geography 15.5 (2007): 354-367.
5) BC Buy Local. https://bcbuylocal.com/why-local/
6) Porter, Michael E., and Mark R. Kramer. “Creating shared value.” Managing sustainable business. Springer, Dordrecht, 2019. 323-346.