You may have heard the phrase “eat local” countless times. Those two words are plastered all across social media, news channels, and even our very own website but what does it mean and why is it important. The reality of it is when most of us look at a tomato we simply see a tomato no matter whether it was grown in a large industrial farm in California or in your very own backyard. So why should you invest a couple extra dollars to get the same product from a different source?
Here are just a handful of the numerous reasons to eat local:
- Research in Seattle finds that for every $100 spent at an average grocery store, $25 is re-spent locally; for every $100 spent at a farmers market, $62 is re-spent locally. (North Carolina state Cooperative Extension study 2014)
- A recent pilot study finds that consuming local foods with fewer additives might reduce abdominal fat, blood pressure, and diabetes risk (Newman 2019)
- Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. (Michigan State University 2021)
- It’s good for the environment. Local food doesn’t have to travel as far to arrive on your plate, so it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to improving our carbon footprint. (McGill 2021)
- When you eat locally, you eat with the seasons, and the cycle of seasonal produce is perfectly designed to support your health. Local seasons provide the ideal foods for our body’s natural needs based on our geographic location. (kay nutrition 2021)
- In two national U.S. studies, researchers found that the level of direct farm sales was associated with lower levels of mortality and obesity (Ahern et al. 2011), and lower levels of mortality, obesity, and diabetes (Salois 2011).
Did you know, Back in 1900, over 40% of Americans lived on farms? Nowadays this number sits at a much more conservative 1.3% of the population. But enough with the statistics. Americans today are eating less locally grown food than ever. Eating locally has a ton of benefits. Local food has more nutrients, is less likely to be contaminated, supports the local economy, and is heathier for consumers as their digestive systems are more acclimated to the local environment. The only thing stopping consumers from eating locally grown, organic food is the long drawn out process the bring fresh produce to the consumer’s home. Well, that and the fact that the general population isn’t well-informed on the benefits of eating locally.It’s for this reason that our team founded Vitto Baskets, a virtual farmer’s market designed to promote local, organic food through education and conveniently designed meal plans. We’re a team of young, high-school entrepreneurs at MIT LaunchX driven to bring you the most convenient solution to healthy eating. Today marks the beginning of the long journey we have ahead of ourselves.