Why I Eat Locally Grown Food
I haven’t always eaten local food, in fact, I haven’t always eaten healthfully. I did get a good start in life though … My mama tried!
I grew up in a family that truly valued fresh food and home cooking. My parents had a big garden. My Mom shopped at the local farmers market and cooked from scratch 3 meals a day. Like most kids, I didn’t know how good I had it and as soon as I got out on my own, I went the other way – to junk food city. I was all about tasty convenience food.
I ate like one of the Gilmore girls. (Remember that TV show?) I got away with eating like that … for a while. Until it caught up with me. And not surprisingly I got sick and felt really bad. And I no longer looked like one of the Gilmore Girls.
Somewhere along the line a lightbulb went off over my head and I started to make the connection between what I ate and how I felt.
Somewhere along the line a lightbulb went off over my head and I started to make the connection between what I ate and how I felt. I decided I needed to find the most nutritious food I could in order to heal my body. That brought me to the farmers market and buying directly from farmers. I knew that the produce I bought there was recently harvested. I could also ask the farmers directly about their growing practices and visit their farms to see how they treated their animals which was important to me.
So, my health goals brought me to eating local food but what kept me there was the flavor and the variety of food I can buy. At the farmers market I learned that local farmers selling to local people raise produce for flavor not for travel. Farms selling to people on the other side of the country choose varieties that will look good after being shipped. Often these varieties aren’t the best tasting.
It made sense to me when I realized that farms selling to local people are able to let their produce ripen longer on the vine. They are also able to grow and sell interesting varieties I don't see in grocery stores. Eating with the season and trusting farmers has made me a lot more adventurous with my eating!
I also got hooked by the sense of community and the connections I made through the farmers markets. I’ve met so many great people there and made some really good friends.
I got the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself. I know that when I buy from local farmers, I’m supporting local families I know. I’m keeping more of my money in the community. I’m voting with my fork about what’s important to me.
There’s a sense of making a difference, just by eating. I used to be very politically active – organizing protests, circulating petitions … I found I was always focused on what I was against instead of what I was for. And I didn’t feel like I was making any impact on these big national issues. I reached a point where I wanted to focus on something positive. So I got involved in the local food movement and I’m a lot happier for it.
I know that when I buy from local farmers, I’m supporting local families I know. I’m keeping more of my money in the community. I’m voting with my fork about what’s important to me.