TEXAS IS ONE OF THE LARGEST producers of fresh fruits and vegetables – more than 60 varieties to choose from across our state. With so many options, it is easy to find Texas grown produce, in season and fresh! You will find you are getting fruits and vegetables at the peak of their flavor and nutritional value. Seasonal shopping keeps your menu fresh and varied too! Take the challenge and see how much better your meals will taste!
Consumers that value fresh food and a working landscape should support local farmers by buying their products. … 1) Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor.
Most food is produced hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles from where it is consumed requiring significant energy consumption for handling, transportation and storage and resulting in significant food waste from spoilage during its journey.
According to a recent study published in the Public Library of Science, 40% of food is wasted in the U.S. That figure measures waste occurring throughout the entire food system starting at the farm and ending at what ends up thrown away as plate scrapings by all of us. Not only is that a huge amount of waste – a tremendous amount of energy, soil fertility and water is squandered. How much? Here’s some “food for thought:”
•The amount of energy wasted amounts to about 1,400 calories per person per day
•One quarter of the US annual consumption of freshwater is wasted
•300 million barrels of oil are used to produce food that is eventually wasted
And because the US recycles less than 3% of food waste, most of that food waste ends up in landfills where it decomposes anaerobically, emits methane and other greenhouse gases and contributes to climate change.
The lack of fresh, local food production also significantly impacts our diet and health. We tend to eat what is available – highly processed food that can handle long distance travel and has a long shelf life. We are what we eat, and the obesity epidemic is one of the most visible and obvious indications that our food system with its lack of access to fresh locally grown foods has a significant and negative health impact.
So many of the issues we face in this country seem insurmountable. The truth is those insurmountable issues are impacted by the decisions each of make every day as we shop, eat, drive. Shopping locally is a way each of us can positively impact our planet and our community and ourselves every day.
So, what are the benefits of eating locally? Here are the top 8 reasons to eat local foods:
Local foods are fresher. Fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients as soon as they are picked. Buying local produce cuts down travel time from farm to table.
2. Local foods are seasonal. True, it would be great to
have fresh tomatoes and berries all year round, but
eating seasonally means avoiding “artificial ripening”
with gases or eating a bland version of a fruit or
vegetable that’s been shipped thousands of miles.
Eating seasonally results in the most delicious and
3. Local foods are better for the environment. Some
foods are shipped literally thousands of miles; that
is a big carbon footprint that could be avoided by
purchasing local and seasonal foods.
4. Local foods preserve green space and farmland. The
environmental question of where your food comes
from is bigger than its carbon footprint. Buying foods
grown and raised closer to where you live helps maintain
farmland and green space in your area.
5. Local foods promote food safety. Less distance
between your food’s source and your kitchen table
leaves less of a chance of contamination.
6. Local foods promote variety. Local foods create a
greater variety of foods. Farmers who run CSA (community-
supported agriculture) programs, sell at farmers
markets, and provide food to local restaurants have the
demand and the economic support for raising more
types of produce and livestock.
7. Local foods support your local economy. Money spent
locally stays local. Purchasing locally builds your local
economy instead of handing over the earnings to a
corporation in another city, state, or country. Also,
since the food itself moves through less hands, more
of the money you spend will end up in the pockets of
those raising and growing those foods.
8. Local foods create Community. Ever find yourself
spending much of your time at the farmers market
chatting and socializing in addition to purchasing
your produce? Getting to know your farmer, cheese
purveyor, fishmonger, butcher, workers at your local
co-op, etc., creates a sense of community.
The Post would like to support local growers. If you have
a garden or know someone who does email Hart Parris