Why eat local and seasonal food?
Eating with the seasons helps you connect with and celebrate the world around you. In my house, spring means strawberries and fall means pumpkins. Freshly picked food tastes … surprise … fresh! It is more nutritious than tired food that’s been stored for weeks or months. It costs less because you don’t pay the food equivalent of hotel bills and nannies. Reducing your “food miles” slows climate change, minimizing the risk of extreme weather and global unrest.
Local food that’s just been picked tastes better and is more nutritious than food that has been hauled across the country or the globe. That’s especially true of produce grown using organic and small-farm techniques. It often costs less too because you don’t pay for the food equivalent of airline tickets.
Buying from local farmers helps create jobs in your community and build resilience. Not only do farmers hire workers, they also shop, use services, and pay taxes where they live. When every region grows a variety of food, then a drought or attack in one region won’t make the whole nation hungry. A strong food system makes it easier for us to help each other through hard times.
How to cook local and seasonal food
The easiest way to find out what’s in season is to go to your farmers’ market. Some markets require that all goods come from within a certain distance, usually 50 or 100 miles. Others have separate areas for local vendors and those from further away. Stop by the welcome desk or check the website to find out what the rules are at your market. Many booths will have signs saying where their farm is.
You can also join a Community Supported Agriculture group. It’s like a magazine subscription for food. You usually pay the farmer up front for a season’s share of what the farm produces, sharing some of the risks and rewards of farming. See five reasons why I love my CSA (includes video).
Some grocery stores carry good selections of local and regional food. In general, grocery stores that focus on price get their food from the cheapest sources, often overseas. Look for signs in the produce section and read the labels on packages.
News about Local and Seasonal Food
- Farmers’ Markets Help You, Not Just the Farmers
- California’s Past and Future Superstorm: Flooding that will Make Harvey Seem Like a Dim Memory. California’s Central Valley has flooded before and may be due to repeat. Eight percent of the food grown in the U.S. currently comes from the Central Valley.
- Banning Soda for Food Stamps Raises Tough Questions (and shows way to support farmers’ markets)
- Local restaurants and businesses keep money in your community