8 Reasons To Eat Local
Eating and buying local food is a topic we at Foodies Collective are hugely passionate about. We love the fact that there is a growing trend towards supporting local; the 'little' guy, woman, farmer, artisan, makers & shakers.
Back in 2015, a wave of people within Australia were diagnosed with hepatitis A after eating frozen berries from two well known Aussie supermarket brands. It came as a surprise to many people that the berries were actually imported from China. It's a frightening fact that the origin of product is at times hidden from consumers. Poor hygiene, as well as contaminated water supplies, are among the likely causes behind these kind of outbreaks.
Unfortunately, the process of freezing fruit or veggies does not kill food-borne illnesses like salmonella, E. coli, listeria as well as hepatitis A. As said by Professor Enzo Palombo "While the virus does not grow in the frozen food, it still remains infectious and is essentially preserved during transport". Whilst the virus is 'preserved' frozen, once thawed it becomes active again. *(Professor Enzo Palombo is a food health and safety expert and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at Swinburne University of Technology.)
If the above doesn't stop you from buying unnecessary imported goods, particularly imported fresh produce, hopefully these 8 reasons will convince you why eating & buying local is truly best:
Safer health standards
The further your food travels, the higher risk of contamination between you and your food’s origin & source. Food grown overseas locations has the potential for food safety issues from harvest, preparation, shipping & distribution. Simply put, Australian standards are safer.
Buying locally grown produce will keep you in touch with the earth & seasons. Produce which is in season is not only more flavoursome, it's better for your pocket as it tends to be less expensive.
Support The "Little" People
On average only 18c of every dollar spent on produce at a supermarket makes it to the grower. That's 82c that goes to the big guys and middlemen. Money that is spent directly with local farmers and growers goes straight to into the farmers pocket, then reinvested within the local community.
Flavour, Flavour, Flavour
When grown locally, crops are given the luxury of time & therefore picked at their peak of ripeness. This results in maximum flavour! Produce stocked in supermarkets are usually harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed in time. The benefit of buying at a local farmers market is the produce more often than not has been picked within 24-48 hours of your purchase.
By choosing to eat locally grown produce, you'll achieve a more nutrient rich diet. Local fresh food has less time between harvest and your plate, therefore it is less likely to have lost lots of nutrients It's had more time to mature & ripen in the ground, vine or branch. Sadly fresh food that has travelled far & wide has lost a lot of its goodness by the time it's reached the shelf.
Look after the environment
Purchasing locally grown foods generally means your food has a lighter carbon footprint - less emissions, energy & food miles. It also promotes & retains more green spaces & land in your local region.
Hearing and knowing how the food in your basket made it there is extremely comforting, making your meal that much more enjoyable. Don't be scared to strike up a conversation with stall holders at your local market. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest their crops.
Modern, often large scale commercial farming practices (through the overuse of expensive pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers) are rapidly depleting topsoil fertility. Creating and sustaining soil fertility is the major objective for organic growers. Healthy soils are essential to maintain the quality of our food, the purity of our water, and the cleanliness of the air we breathe.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have we missed any other benefits on eating locally?
Let's share & learn together.
*Excerpts from www.abc.net.au