“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” ~ Cesar Chavez
Sustainable Ballard takes to heart the connection between what we eat and how we feel. Helping us to grow our own food and using local food to build community are primary goals of these projects and activities. Local food is proven to have more nutritional value, better taste, and as we’re all learning, uses fewer “food miles.” Eating more locally produced food also helps ensure we have safer food – and more food available in case of a crisis. See our “10 Reasons” below for more information.
With four active Food & Garden projects, there’s sure to be one that’s right for you!
10 Reasons to Support Locally Grown Food
1. Locally grown food tastes better
Food grown in the Northwest was harvested within the last day or two and is fresh, delicious, and loaded with flavor. Produce flown or trucked in from California, Mexico, or New Zealand was probably picked before it was ripe and lacks the vibrant flavor of locally grown food.
2. Local produce is better for you
Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Buying local ensures you get the best in both flavor and nutrition. Our bodies naturally crave seasonal crops, requiring more hearty potatoes and cabbages when weather turns colder, and lighter salad greens and cucumbers when it is warmer. Shopping locally tunes you in with the seasons.
3. Local food preserves a diverse food supply
The modern industrial food system “ food found in most grocery stores“ favors varieties with thick skins that can survive packing and shipping, leaving few varietal options. Family farmers place value on different things, like choosing varieties that are uniquely suited to the Puget Sound region, often favoring heirloom varieties that have been passed down from generation to generation.
4. Local food is free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Genetically modified foods have been banned in Europe and are considered by many to be unsafe. Currently, only large commercial growers can and do use fruits and vegetable seeds and starts that are genetically modified, which means that local farmers are GMO-free.
5. Local food supports local farming families
A typical farmer gets paid just 10 cents of the retail food dollar, but buying directly from the producer or conscientious retailer keeps more $ in their pocket and their family on the land.
6. Local food builds community
Chat with vendors at your farmers market – knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the accessible miracle of raising food.
7. Local food preserves open space
Farmers need farmland to grow food, and when we spend our food dollars locally, it’s more likely that farmland will stay in production and not become the next shopping center or condo complex.
8. Local food benefits wildlife
The habitat of a farm – the patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings – is the perfect environment for many beloved species of wildlife.
9. Local food supports a clean environment
A family farm is a place where resources like fertile soil and clean water are valued. According to some estimates, farmers who practice conservation tillage can sequester 12-14 % of the carbon emitted by vehicles and industry.
10. Local food is about the future
By supporting regional farmers today, you help ensure a safe and healthy food supply for future generations.
Modified from www.eatlocalnow.org