Eco Tip #36 Eat Locally
While eating a more plant-forward diet is a great way to not only be healthier but also reduce your impact on the planet, there’s more to consider than just adding greens. A factor that often isn’t considered is the transportation of our food. While it’s not the largest contributor to the environmental impact of food, it does till have an impact – one that you can avoid by eating locally. Around the world in most cities and villages, you can find many local food markets or shops that source their produce locally.
Here in Cyprus, for example, there are many different food markets and retailers of local produce. And with recent focus on healthy eating, traditional local varieties of fruits and vegetables are starting to become more common across Cyprus.
While eating locally might not have a massive impact on the environment, it does actually help – and as an added bonus, it helps the economy while also helping local communities and farmers. While there’s no real definition to what ‘local’ produce is, the concept is to just avoid imported foods. It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is, and eating more local and seasonal produce can be quite easy – here’s a couple tips to help you get started:
#1: Plant your own garden
Starting with the most obvious choice, growing your own food is about as local as you could ever get! As an added bonus to having the freshest food around, you also get the bragging rights to having literally made that delicious dinner from scratch.
#2: Shop at Farmers markets
The tried and tested way to get food straight from the source is to buy from farmer’s markets. Depending on where you live, local farmer’s markets can be found relatively commonly and usually have better prices than grocery stores. And if you’re lucky, some of them even have hard to find varieties of certain fruits and vegetables, which makes things even better.
#3: Join a Food Co-op or CSA
Food Cooperatives are customer-and-worker owned businesses where customers usually pay a recurring fee and are provided with the best local produce in return. CSAs, or ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ programs are a relatively new concept where customers can pay a subscription fee and receive a box of locally-produced foods.
#4: Buy Seasonal foods
Learn what’s in season in your area. Knowing the season produce means you can ensure that you’re supporting your area’s farmers as well as getting the freshest produce available – it’s a win for everyone.
#5: Freeze It
If you really like having your fruits all year round, you can freeze and store them for later months. That way, you’ll get to have your fruity treats all year round!
On top of helping your communities, there are plenty of health benefits for eating locally. From being more nutritious to having less exposure to chemicals – and none at all if you buy completely organic food – local produce is a great way to keep yourself healthy too! So, if you want to help out your local farmers while also keeping healthy, eating local is a great way to start.