5 Reasons to Eat Local this Earth Day

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day? Why not pay a visit to a farmer's market and prepare a meal worth savoring. We've all heard that it's good to eat local, but why is that? Here are my top five reasons...

1. Less mileage. In the U.S. much of the food found in the supermarket travels an average of 1500 miles before making it to your kitchen table. Without the voyage, our food stays fresher and more nutrient-rich, while by eliminating the transportation reduces the release of carbon emissions into the air we breathe.

2. When you buy local, you're generally getting foods that are in season. Eating a seasonal diet just makes sense. Not only is an item at its peak nutritional value when it is in season, but you're living in harmony with the environment. There's a reason you feel blah after eating a big pasta dish in the summer or a salad in the wintertime. As the temperature changes so does the fuel that we need to run our bodies.

3. It supports the small family farmer and helps build community. If you'd like to eat seasonally, but aren't interested in remembering which foods are in season at which time (I know I always forget), you might want to consider participating in a CSA this spring/summer. CSA or Community Supported Agriculture helps to support family farms while providing people (especially in cities) with access to high quality, locally-grown, affordable produce. Each week you pick up your share of fruits and vegetables at a local community center or other farm drop-off location. You can do a full share or a half share, depending on how many people you're feeding, and many CSAs consider income and charge accordingly. If you're in New York City, check here for CSA locations. Or for other locations around the country click here.

Another easy option for eating local and in season is to visit your local farmer's market where fresh options abound. Find one in your area.

4. It tastes better. There's no denying that when a food comes from the local garden, it's flavor is stronger and more satisfying than after being trucked across the country, hauled in freighter ships over oceans or flown around the world.

5. Educated eating. It's nice to know where the food your eating comes from, isn't it? During a trip to Belize, I was able to take a walk through the organic farm where the ingredients for my meals were grown (pictured above), and somehow that just made everything taste better.


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