What’s greener than organic?

When it comes to being green, choosing locally grown and raised foods is the way to go.   An organic food that is produced hundreds of miles away will have deteriorated nutritionally by the time it reaches your plate and have a high carbon footprint.  But, if you choose a locally grown or raised food, the carbon footprint will be low and the nutrients will be at their peak.  People who choose to eat foods only within a certain radius (i.e. 100 miles) call themselves locavores.  Although you don’t need to commit to a certain distance that your food travels, you can reap the benefits by making  a few easy changes.

Choosing local foods are better for you. The sooner you eat a fruit or vegetable after it is picked, the higher the nutrient content.  Time, light, and heat all destroy precious vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  So, if you eat a berry that has just been picked, it will be healthier for you than one that was picked days ago and shipped to the grocery store.

Local foods tend to taste better. Growing up in California we grew boysenberries and strawberries.  I loved feasting on berries all summer.  My favorite way to eat them were straight off the vine or bush while I was playing outside.  I can still taste the warm, sweet berries.  The berries from the grocery store never taste quite as sweet as the ones from your own garden or farmer’s market.

Choosing foods from local farms saves natural resources. The shorter the distance it takes to get the food to the table, the better it is for our planet.

Buying local supports local businesses. What’s better than supporting a local business and meeting the people who produce your food?

Farmer’s markets are great places to find local foods.  I like to visit the Beaumont Farmer’s Market.  Or you can visit pick-your-own farms which can be fun and very cost efficient.  It’s also a great opportunity for teaching children where their food comes from.   Even better, is growing or raising your own foods.  Check out your local extension agency if you are interested in gardening or farming.

What are your favorite locally grown or raised foods?