In this beautifully simple article from the Rodale Institute website, author Mary Mesenburg states why buying local, organic produce is really much better for your health. First of all, the less produce has to travel, the less carbon is produced, making the atmosphere cleaner for all of us. But she also states 4 points supporting the nutritional value of community-grown produce.
- Local fruits are more nutrient rich. Studies have shown that the enzymes in the plant begin to break down the moment it is harvested. In fact studies have shown that Vitamin C content is reduced by nearly half in brocolli after being exported out of the country.
- Vine-ripened produce is also higher in nutrients. When exporting produce, many farmers harvest early so that they will ripen only after arrival. Local produce is harvested when ripe, so the fruit or vegetable is able to reach it’s full nutritional potential.
- Local farms often grow greater variety of produce. This allows for a more complete nutritional profile in your diet.
- You can get a better sense if the farmer is really growing his food organically as you can converse with the grower or even see the farm.
These are a few simple but very important points. I would also like to add that buying local produce is also essential to supporting the local economy. When resources stay within a community, as opposed to being sent to outside sources, the community as a whole is supported.
Read more about the 7 dimensions of Sustainable Agriculture to learn how economy, culture, politics and even spirituality must be considered in food production.