Why Eat Local?


I've heard it said that it's best to eat local, but never really was told why. I'm totally the type of person who must know why, otherwise I will not do it...like why must I empty the lint from the dryer every time? (Apparently it makes it more efficient, and your house is less likely to start on fire...OK, I'm convinced.)

I totally wish I would have taken a nutrition class in college because I know hardly anything about protein, carbohydrates, fat, etc. Those words mean very little to me. I just recently found out that MSG is a food additive that excites your nerves so much that they could explode! I thought it was just something old people shouldn't eat because the first time I heard of it was when my nana asked our waitress at Trumbles if her meal had MSG (it didn't).

I've become a serious student of nutrition the past few months. I learn best by taking notes and writing essays, so here's to hoping I don't forget why it's best to eat local foods.

Why Eat Local?

  • It's more nutritious. Think about an apple. It is best to eat the apple immediately after it is plucked from the tree. It is fresh and alive. If I buy apples that were grown in Florida, it would take at least a week for them to get to my grocery store. As a result, it may be picked from the tree before it is ripe. By the time it gets to me, the apple has lost some of its value. The longer a product has to travel to get to you, the less nutrients it has.
  • Economically, it's responsible to support your local farmers. Farmers make more money off local buyers, too, because they have to pay less for transportation, packaging, marketing, etc. And if you buy from a farmers' market, your dollar goes farther and straight to the source (because it doesn't have to pay Whole Foods for bringing you the produce, too). Luckily, Des Moines has a freaking awesome farmers' market that runs May-December (it's moved indoors the last two months).
  • Small, local farms probably use less chemicals on their produce. You'll also be eating foods that are in season, which means they are more natural and they often taste better. We also enjoy it more because we don't have it year-round (same reason I love those conversation hearts around Valentine's Day--if they were sold year-round I doubt I would buy them at all!).
  • You know where it came from. How fun would it be to visit a local farm, find out how they grow their produce, see their fields, and then pick your own? We are going to an apple orchard (I've never been!) next month, and I am so excited. I think I would totally appreciate my food more if I am part of the story.

Those are just a few reasons we have decided to eat local as much as possible. There are surely more reasons, but these are good enough for me. :)

I've wondered lately if eating local is better than eating organic. Any thoughts on that?