Eat Local, Eat Fresh Healthy Eating

Eat Local, Eat Fresh

Why is it so important to eat locally sourced food? For one, products that are transported over long distances result in more vehicle fuel being used. The consequence is a larger carbon footprint left on Mother Earth. Plus, local, fresh food can be healthier for your body.

There are many ways to eat local. You can buy food from community gardens, farmers markets, or community supported agriculture (CSA) farms. You can also grow your own produce. Big businesses focused on social responsibility are getting involved too by offering locally grown fruits and vegetables at some stores.

Dig in to these tips for finding the best food grown in your area:

  • Grow Your Own Produce. From 2008 to 2013, the number of home gardens increased by 4 million to 37 million households, while community gardens tripled from 1 million to 3 million, a 200 percent increase, according to the National Gardening Association. A home garden can be anything from a large plot of ten different crops to a pot of tomatoes on a stoop to herbs on a windowsill. The biggest benefit: Since you’re growing the food, you can control exactly which production techniques are used.
  • Join a CSA. CSA farms offer membership “shares” before the growing season starts. Members pay a fee for their share and get a box of fresh-picked produce once or twice a week during the season. Some CSAs have varying share prices that are based on income. Others allow members to work on the farm in exchange for a lower share price. And some accept Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) vouchers and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
  • Local Harvest allows you to search for a CSA by city, state, or zip code. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s CSA information also offers links to a number of CSA sites.
  • Support Farmers Markets. This is a great way to buy produce directly from farmers. Again, some markets accept WIC vouchers and SNAP benefits. Search for farmers markets near you using the zip code search box at Local Harvest or at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s site.
  • Don’t Wrap. Buying local, fresh food allows you to avoid extra packaging that may contain chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a synthetic estrogen found in many rigid plastic products and food and formula can linings. Many women choose to limit their exposure to estrogen because it can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop and grow.

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