Eating local food can help the economy, personal health

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Some Manhattan businesses that sell locally grown or produced items are the Eastside and Westside markets, Hy-Vee and People's Grocery Co-op and Deli. (Gabriela Faraone | Collegian Media Group)

Buying local helps you and your community in more ways than one.

Several studies have shown that buying from an independent, locally owned business “recycles” significantly more of your money to other local business, service providers and farms. This strengthens the economic base of your community, but also is much more than numbers.

Flavor

Utilizing local farms ensures quality of produce. When it is grown locally, there is no long-distance shipping and no sitting for weeks in storage. It’s fresh from the farm to your table.

Another factor is that you would find top seasonal products that are from your area. Eating seasonally is important for your health and the environment.

According to the Nature Garden Express Blog, “even though technology makes it possible for us to eat tomatoes in the dead of winter, that doesn’t mean we should do it. Modern food practices that do not follow the USDA’s guidelines for organic farming cause damage to our environment and communities.”

Variety exposure

When you eat products in season, there is a higher chance that you will be exposed to dishes and ingredients that you have not explored yet, and that it’s the best time to try it out.

It can also help you eat a more well-rounded and balanced diet. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, fresh watermelons in summer or squash in autumn, you are allowing your body to reconnect with the earth and fueling your body with nourishing food according to the weather.

Supporting local business

If you could have the opportunity to help those around you, even the smallest action could make a big difference.

Now that big corporations and food production in large scale is dominating the country and most of the world, family farmers are struggling to make a living with their products that they grow year-round with love and perseverance.

Family farmers need the support of the community, and buying their products your nearby farmer’s market or food co-op have available, would help them be able to keep providing us with their product.

Protect your planet

Climate change is affected by the mass transportation and production of products by big-name corporations. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles to get to your plate.

Besides contributing to pollution and large quantities of trash, there is a huge amount of food waste.

To produce large quantities of food, there is a need for more natural resources such as water and land, which ends up being contaminated with toxic agricultural by-products.

These issues could be avoided or at least minimized with the promotion of sustainable agriculture. This is done by promoting farming practices that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.

Next time that you are planning to go grocery shopping, grab your eco-friendly bags and make a trip to the closest farmers market in your area. Buy local and make a positive impact not only to your health but also to your community.

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