This past weekend, Courtney and I took the kids apple picking. It was a beautiful day, we’d just been to a new local “cidery” (great place, but that’s another story for another day), and thought lets go pick some local apples.
At first we thought nothing of it, but while I was reaching for apples and seeing the glee on my kids faces while devouring the fresh fruit, something struck me (and it wasn’t the Newtonian apple falling on me)-
It’s vital to know where our food comes from.
We live in an age where it’s cheaper to buy mass produced/harvested goods, and it’s easier to buy it all from the same place. This convenience has led to processes that lower the nutrient quality of our food, the addition of “food additives” to “improve” our perception of that food, and we haven’t yet discussed the impact on the environment.
So, I’ve decided to compile 2 lists for you: the first outlines the benefits of eating local foods, and the second list is how to do it.
Benefits of eating local food
-It tastes better. The food hasn’t been ripened in a truck or with gasses
-It’s better for you
- Although research is lacking on the comparison of local foods to store bought foods as it relates to health outcomes, we can expand beyond those direct outcomes…
- More walking, stretching, etc.
- More sunlight (vitamin D, etc.) and time in nature (plenty of research outlining air quality as a positive determinant for many health outcomes)
-Supports local business
-Smaller carbon footprint
-Teaches the value of food and nutrition to your family
How to buy local food
-Planning. This is the hardest step for everybody.
- You’re not going to be able to get everything in one spot, so planning your time to visit local places becomes paramount
- Buying local can be a little pricier, so increasing your food budget may be necessary. Consider good food as medicine, and you’re making an investment in your health now so that you don’t have to pay more for other health interventions later
-Sourcing. Finding the best places for individual foods may take some time.
- Start with local farmers markets, or even buying Ontario foods at the grocery store.
- You can then find the location of the farm and consider visiting the facility and buying directly
-Menu planning. We have distinct seasons here, so buying in-season food means you’ll have to adjust what you’re eating.
- Some farms have green houses, others find ways to preserve their foods out of season, so it’s still possible to continue eating strawberries in December.