Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On Eating Local Food

Lately I have been thinking more about the sustainability of our food supply. For those who live in the Boston, the Metro last week had a blurb about how we are going to run out of seafood by 2048, with the exception of jellyfish, if we continue our current habits. I love meat and shellfish, but I am trying to incorporate more meatless food into my diet (it is cheaper and healthier).

I also have started to learn to make things like creme fraiche and ricotta cheese-products that I used to buy imported from Europe on a big 'ole plane (ship?). I am not the most environmentally-friendly person that I know, but I am trying to change that. I got this list from www.eatlocalchallenge.com and liked it a lot. Thus, I am sharing it with you.

10 Reasons to Eat Local Food

Eating local means more for the local economy. According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction. (reference)

Locally grown produce is fresher. While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer's market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

Local food just plain tastes better. Ever tried a tomato that was picked within 24 hours? 'Nuff said.

Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen. Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be "rugged" or to stand up to the rigors of shipping. This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

Eating local is better for air quality and pollution than eating organic. In a March 2005 study by the journal Food Policy, it was found that the miles that organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic. (reference)

Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story. Whether it's the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.

Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism. Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination.

Local food translates to more variety. When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket. Supermarkets are interested in selling "Name brand" fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes. Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.

Supporting local providers supports responsible land development. When you buy local, you give those with local open space - farms and pastures - an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.


  1. Great post! We definitely try to buy local if we can and we always feel like it's the food is more special because it was made so close to home.

  2. And you, lucky one, can have dinner at a splendid restautant (my personal FAVORITE restaurant where eveything one eats comes from the chef's farm..All organic and fresh and too delicious to decribe, and that would the Oleana's in Cambridge...If you have not been there, you simply must make reservations and run all the way...I was so moved by the entire meal that I called to see the chef after dinner so that I could tell her how very special the dining experience had been for me..If I am ever back in Boston (Which I adored)her restaurant will be on the top of my list...I even bought her cookbook, and because a lot of the spices are very difficult to find, she has a package of those she will ship you as well....Hey, I would love you to check out my blog at http://itsthatwomanfromtheinside.blogspot.com
    If you like it, I invite you to follow...I am envious of your trip to Buenos Aires, and can't wait to hear about all of your adventures! How are openings for healthcare in the hospitals there now that the economy has fallen? I saw some great hospitals while I was there...Wasn't sure that I could live very well in Boston, because I was not sure of the pay scales there...I saw that you were a nurse,and thought that you might have an idea..I am a long time Respiratory Therapist, Registered. Any info would be great...as I said, I adore Boston!


Tried my recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Be honest (and kind!)