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Why Shopping Locally is Good

posted Mar 10, 2018, 3:41 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

“Go Further with Food” is this year’s National Nutrition Month® theme that focuses on food sustainability. There are many ways we can all “Go Further” and reduce food waste, support local farmers by shopping locally, and eat healthier. This week we’ll discuss how shopping locally at farmers markets benefits our health, the economy and the environment.

Shopping locally is better for our health. Fresher foods contain more nutrients and taste better. Once produce is picked/harvested is begins to lose nutritional value due to enzymes that are released which break down the nutrients. Also, the longer fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen on the vine the more nutrients are retained. Non-local produce is picked before it is ripe so that it won’t spoil by the time it reaches the grocery store, decreasing the nutritional value.

When you shop locally you save money. Many of the foods at farmers markets are cheaper than at the grocery store because the food transportation fees are low. Local food isn’t stored for long periods or being transported long distances and is therefore fresher and lasts longer decreasing the amount of food waste due to spoilage. Also, the money spent locally stays local helping to build and maintain the local economy.

Shopping locally is good for the environment. A study done at Michigan State University found that food in the US travels almost 1500 miles. This adds to the carbon footprint of not only your house but also your community.  You can greatly cut your own carbon footprint by buying locally. You also support the local farmers helping them to continue farming and preserving green space.

Spring is just around the corner and farmer’s markets will be opening soon. Click on the links below for farmer’s markets in your area (note: the opening dates and times may change).

Montgomery County

District of Columbia

Fairfax County

Arlington County

We can all make some small changes to be more sustainable and eat healthier.

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