On Buying Local

By: Jessica Mennella

There’s been a lot of press lately about the environmental impact of purchasing locally grown foods. Logically, buying locally grown fruits and vegetables would seem more environmentally conscious than purchasing a basket of strawberries from halfway across the world. According to journalist Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics Radio, and a handful of economists including Tyler Cowan, author of the new book, “An Economist Gets Lunch”, however, it’s not.  If this is, indeed, the case, what incentive do you have to continue to eat locally? I wrote a list of the top reasons why I eat locally to share with you here. Come and cook with us!

  • Local food tastes better.
  • Going to the farmers market is fun, and makes for a great Saturday morning activity with your kids, young and old.
  • Locally grown food is, by definition, in season. Eating with the seasons ensures variety in vitamins, minerals and taste sensations; therefore, purchasing locally grown foods is an easy way to get a nice mix of nutrients in our diet.
  • Locally grown fruits and vegetables are fresher than their non-local counterparts. The nutritional value in fruits and vegetables declines with age, so the freshness of a fruit or vegetable is important.
  • Local growers tend to provide more variety in the produce they offer. It’s not easy to get five different varieties of peaches at the supermarket; at the farmers market in the summer it’s standard operating procedure.
  • As the global recession continues to impact this country, supporting local businesses is one way to ensure we live in viable, healthy communities and local farms are a part of this equation.
  • Smaller farmers tend to grow a greater variety of produce; this diversity in agriculture is healthier for the land. Additionally, the preservation of heirloom seeds and strains of produce ensure greater taste sensations for our children’s children.
  • Farming is cool. Just look at all the hipsters doing it in Brooklyn.

Dubner, Cowan, and all the other economists studying the environmental impact of purchasing local foods give us great information about the assumptions we make, and the reasons we give for our purchase choices. We applaud them for their efforts, but are not yet convinced to stop buying local. Let us know why you are inspired to support your local farmer. Come and cook with us!

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Jessica Mennella

Jessica joined the Reboot team in 2009 after watching the film "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead", and pledging (immediately) to do "whatever it takes" to get the message of health out there. A lifelong fruit and veg aficionado, Jessica started juicing in 1988 after watching her mother "green" drink her way to health after a bout with cancer. Several years into the juice fast scene, Jessica was convinced something was missing in her quest for health... a woman cannot live on juice alone! It was then that she committed to preparing healthy, whole, simple mostly plant based foods on a regular basis and learned what a difference a home cooked meal can make. Jessica believes that encouragement (and a few well placed recipes) can inspire would-be home chefs to take a chance and just cook. She co-authors the blog "Come and Cook with Us", which provides healthy cooking (and eating) related advice, tips, and recipes for the chefs and chefs-to-be. Check it out at: www.comeandcookwithus.com.

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