Seasons’ Eating – Making Local and Organic Food Choices
There are so many healthy reasons to choose local and organic foods that are in season. For one thing, it saves fuel; for another, it builds community; and for yet another, it's healthier. Let's look at some of these reasons for seasonal eating.
It takes a lot of fossil fuel to power the airplanes, ships and trucks that deliver produce from foreign countries or for miles across the United States. Buying local food means there is less gasoline or jet fuel "in" that food, and fewer emissions expelled into the atmosphere. Less use of non-renewable fossil fuels is better for the environment and, ultimately, better for people.
In order to keep food looking and tasting fresh during its long transport, it is sprayed with all sorts of preservatives such as waxes and fungicides. Local food does not sit in storage for long periods, and therefore does not need artificial preservatives.
No Pesticides, Herbicides, or Synthetic Fertilizers
This is true for all organic foods, local or not, but as noted above, long transport times means the food has more opportunity to become contaminated with anything that comes its way. Organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, dangerous herbicides and unhealthy pesticides. It is not only better for your health to eat organic foods, it is better for the environment.
When conventional farmers put chemicals on their crops, storm run-off, winds, and other natural processes carry those chemicals beyond the farm where they can do much damage. And as crops are sprayed year after year, the soil eventually becomes "dead," leaving it unfruitful and susceptible to erosion.
So farmers have to spray even more fertilizers and such to force the soil to produce. Conventional farmers have been known to switch to organic farming practices out of necessity - the soil wouldn't grow anything anymore! When you purchase organic food, you are supporting sustainable agricultural practices.
Local produce is in sync with your body. Your blood actually changes with the seasons, and your body adjusts to the change in temperature and light. It stands to reason that foods grown under the same conditions your body is experiencing would be more healthful for you. Your body is likely to be more receptive to digesting and absorbing the nutrients of seasonal foods as well.
As noted above, local, organic foods are more pure, devoid of preservatives and agricultural chemicals. Some experts assert that organic food has more nutrients. Local organic food is certainly fresher, and fresher is healthier.
Local produce that is in season is more affordable than food that has to be shipped - after all, all that transportation and those preservatives cost money. It's also more expensive to grow food out of season.
When you support your local farmers, you support your community. And building a strong, close community is important to everyone's health and prosperity.