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The Benefits of Eating Local!

Local food movements have been exploding over the past decade.  There are many benefits to yourself and to the Earth for eating local. Here are some tips for finding local foods in your area and a rundown of why eating local is so beneficial to the environments.

Why eat local?

  • Eating local lowers your carbon footprint, because it doesn't need to travel far.
  • Local food is usually fresher because it didn't have to spend days in a truck being transported.
  • Local farmers often engage in organic practices, even if they aren't certified organic.  (Being certified organic is costly, so some farmers forgo the certification process but still avoid harmful chemicals.)
  • Local food often contains less packaging.  Sometimes fruits and veggies from the grocery store (even organic ones!) come in plastic containers, are shrink-wrapped, etc.  If you shop at a farmers market and buy local produce, you can bring your own bag.
  • It's important to support local farmers, local economy, and your community.

How do I find local foods?

  • Garden!  What's more local than a tomato picked from your very own backyard?  Or, if you don't have a yard, find a local community garden.  
  • Go right to the source!  Find you-pick farms in your area.  It's fun, too!
  • Find a local farmers market -- and visit regularly.
  • Join a CSA.  (Community Supported Agriculture) 
  • Find farm stands and produce markets -- but read the labels.  Whole Foods often has local stuff, too.  

How can I make my local foods last year round?

I live in Massachusetts, and come winter, it's hard to find local fruits and vegetables.  So, throughout spring, summer, and fall, you can stock up on fruits and veggies and can or freeze them for later use.  PickYourOwn.org has an amazing resource with all you need to know about canning, pickling, freezing, and dehydrating your food.  

How do I know what is local in my region?

Without further ado, I present to you this fabulous resource:  Seasonal Ingredient Map at Epicurious.com.   All you have to do is click on your state and it lists what is fresh in your area.  AND for each ingredient, there's a buying guide and recipes.  Fantastic!    

Comments

NIce article. Its amazing how

NIce article. Its amazing how many community gardens and CSAs are out there. Theres a bunch in the Boston area. I know Jamaica Plain and Cambridge have some.

I grew up in the Boston area and I'm currently living just outside the city. I went to school in N.C. for Environmental Science. After school I spent a year in the AmeriCorps working with a non-profit environmental organization in Western MA. Currently I'

Agreed!

There are so many valuable resources in Massachusetts to get local and/or organic food.

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