Three Reasons to Go Loco for Local Food

There’s no place like home, and nothing like homegrown. Here are three reasons to eat more local food:

Local food builds community:  Did you know North Carolina’s most profitable industry (about $70 billion a year) is agriculture? When you buy food locally, the money stays in your local community and with local farmers. This ensures farmers have a livelihood, which in turn preserves local farmland, related natural habitats and provides food security for the future.

Local food saves: On average food travels 1,500 miles before reaching your plate. That’s like driving from North Dakota to Raleigh. So you can just imagine how much time, fuel and energy that wastes. Buy local and you’ll save those natural resources and probably money, too. Buying local (and in particular directly from a local farmer) can be cost-effective, especially if you buy when a fruit or vegetable is in season (download this helpful guide to food seasons).

Taste the difference: Do a taste test with a fresh-picked, local tomato and a flown-in-from-far-away tomato. We bet the local one wins. In addition to improved taste, studies have shown local food can also be healthier for you. Sometimes produce is picked early so that it can ripen as it travels several hundred miles to your plate. Local food stays on the vine longer since it doesn’t have as far to travel. Also once produce is picked, it begins losing nutrients. So the sooner you can eat it after it’s harvested, the more nutritional value it provides.

So get out there and try local using this guide for finding local food in your area or check out your local farmer’s markets.