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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Local food preserves open space
Farmers need farmland to grow food, and when we spend our food dollars locally, itâ€™s more likely that farmland will stay in production and not become the next shopping center or condo complex.
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.
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.
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
And from the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Utilities:
Eat fresh, local food
Local fresh food lasts longer
By buying local, you get food while it’s at its freshest so it will last longer. We have many great options in our area for farm fresh food.
- Farmers Markets: Seattle is home to more than 20 farmers markets and farm stands selling great local food. Find a farmers market near you. Most are also part of the Fresh Bucks program so you can double your EBT dollars for up to $20 worth of food.
- Local Farm shares: We’re also lucky enough share in the harvest of local farms through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Find a CSA that’s right for you.
Grow your own
What’s even fresher than food straight from the farm? Food from your own garden!
- Learn how to grow your own food. If you don’t have space at home, try one of Seattle’s community gardens.
- Visit City Fruit for tips on how to prevent pests on your fruit trees.
Tips for using up your fruits and vegetables
- Include your CSA and garden produce in your meal plan.
- Store fruits and vegetables to stay fresh longer.
- Put fruits and vegetables that will go bad soon in an Eat First (pdf) box.
- Bring your wilted greens back to life by soaking them in ice cold water until crisp.
- Freeze fruits and vegetables to use later.
- Share extra food with friends, family, neighbors, and your community.