Eating local and seasonal, that is why we should prefer it. Of course, we don’t have a local alternative for some types of food; let’s think, for example, of coffee, cocoa, and bananas. But we can make different choices for much of the fruit and vegetables we usually bring to our tables. Why, for example, choose peaches that come from afar when we can have varieties of peaches grown in Italy in the right season at our disposal? The same goes for zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, and numerous other fruits and vegetables. Here are ten important reasons to prefer local and seasonal food.
#1. Less polluting emissions
The less food has to travel to reach our tables and stores, the better for the environment. Think of the amount of polluting emissions released by the transport of food products on airplanes, trucks, and ships. We try to reduce pollution by choosing more often local and organic food grown by our trusted farmer.
#2. Better tasting products
Conventional food for sale in the supermarket is often collected when it is not yet ripe in the hope that when it reaches its final destination, it will be ready for consumption. Sometimes, however, the fruit is still unripe and is treated with ethylene gas to accelerate ripening. On the other hand, local food can naturally ripen on plants and be harvested at the right point. Some farms directly allow customers to choose their favorite fruit and vegetables and collect them at the time of purchase.
#3. Rich and varied menu
Choosing local food means preferring seasonal products and being sure they are grown next to us. This good habit favors greater variety on the menu. If in winter we tried to give up the typical summer vegetables (grown in greenhouses or that come from afar), we would discover a world of new flavors.
#4. Rediscovery of typical products
Some people are so used to the standard supermarket shopping that they no longer know which typical products are grown nearby. Many farmers are rediscovering them and giving space to ancient and almost forgotten varieties on their land. If you’re seeking something new for your table, don’t forget to take a trip to the next farmer’s market.
Many small local farms are committed to biodiversity conservation, and by buying from them, we can help out so that this very important commitment continues. We choose, if we can, farms that do not exploit the monocultural model and are attentive to the surrounding ecosystems’ balance.
#6. More nutritious food
Vitamins present in fruits and vegetables begin to deteriorate as soon as these products are harvested. What remains of their nutritional value after a long journey? Here’s one more reason to go looking for locally grown produce to buy locally.
#7. Support the local economy
With our purchasing choices, we can support the farms in our area and small producers from an economic point of view. Especially in a crisis period like this, it is the local realities still tied to traditions that suffer the most. With this type of purchase, we will help the facts we want to recover and progress.
#8. Agricultural land protection
In the last fifty years in Italy, most of the available agricultural land has been sealed by concrete. What if a local farmer cannot run his business due to a lack of funds? Sooner or later, its fields will disappear to make way for a new highway. Here is one of the most important reasons for preferring local food and supporting small businesses with our shopping style.
#9. Respect for animals
Buying local food means giving a hand to farmers who are concerned with cultivating the land and think about protecting the surrounding ecosystems and the wild animals that live in the area. For example, they could monitor ecological corridors that favor the movement and migration of wild animals.
#10. Lead by example
If we want many people to change their shopping habits, we should be the first to lead by example. We show others, starting with family and friends, that good and healthy foods are grown in the area where we live and that we can do without most of the common products on sale in supermarkets to compose a rich and varied daily menu to bring on the table.