Choosing Locally Produced Foods
What is meant by the recommendation to consume locally produced, seasonally fresh foods? This means that you purchase foods that are central to your present location and are in season. For example, if you live in New York State it is recommended that New York State apples that are grown in the fall be purchased in the fall.
There are three main reasons for purchasing locally produced foods: It is better for the environment, it is healthier for the consumer, and it is enhances the community.
The Better Choice for the Environment
If you live in California and purchase New York State apples, the apples must be transported all the way across the country for the consumer to enjoy. All of this transport causes unnecessary pollution due to the fossil fuel emissions associated with transport across the country. It would be better to purchase Washington State apples that are located much closer to home, saving unnecessary transportation and unnecessary pollution.
The Healthier Choice for the Consumer
To continue with the preceding example, apples that are grown in New York State and shipped across the country lose nutrients when they are shipped. There is a longer storage time from picking to eating when foods are shipped for longer distances. Many types of produce that are shipped have preservatives added in order to increase shelf life, or may have to be picked earlier than their prime due to shipping. Locally produced foods often do not have these preservatives added to them, and can be picked at their peak. There is absolutely nothing like the taste of a pineapple right out of the ground in Hawaii, a strawberry off the vine in California, or an apple off the tree in New York.
The Enhancement of the Community
When purchasing from your local farmer you are adding directly to the economy of your community! The farmer then spends his or her money in the community. This promotes healthy local economic development.
What Is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This is a relatively new way for the family farmer and the consumer to unite. A CSA provides the farmer with a buyer and the consumer with fresh, locally grown produce. There are currently 600 Community Supported Agriculture groups in North America. It is estimated that these 600 groups feed over 100,000 people.
For more information on Community Supported Agriculture contact Biodynamics Farming and Gardening Association, Inc., Building 1002B, Thoreau Center, The Presidio, P.O. Box 29135, San Francisco, CA 94129-0135,
There are many different forms in which a CSA operates. The idea at its simplest is that the individual farmer sells shares of his or her upcoming harvest to families. The price of the share goes to the farmer so that she can grow, distribute, and make a living from growing her goods. For example, in the Northeast the season is usually from June through November. During this season the farmer grows a multitude of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. He or she harvests the produce weekly, divides it among shareholders, and then it is made available to each of the shareholders, or families. Every week a family gets a huge basket of fruits and vegetables, usually grown organically, to enjoy. The CSA concept also works for city dwellers. Often, participating farmers will make a once-a-week trip into the city to a common distribution point where the shareholders then go and pick up their fresh food — straight from the farmer! The price of the share differs according to the individual region and farmer. The price of the share is generally comparable to what one would pay in the supermarket.
In order to consume fresh, less-processed foods, try the following tip: Make a grocery list once a week and always include fresh foods that have long shelf lives, such as apples, oranges, baby carrots, and romaine lettuce. All are simple to grab, inexpensive, and most people like them.