Buying local typically involves efforts to consume foods that were produced closer to home and becoming more cognizant of where our food comes from. One of the main benefits of eating locally is reducing the amount of energy it takes to ship food from farm to table. And food that comes from a local farm or farmer’s market generally uses less packaging than food from a grocery store.
Eating locally also means supporting farmers who care about and protect the environment and wildlife. Plus, there’s some evidence that eating foods produced locally may be more nutritious.
More and more people are growing their own food. The reasons vary, but one great motivator is the escalating cost in supermarkets.
The practice has a number of benefits: Perhaps most significantly, it reduces the use of fossil fuels involved in transporting produce all over the world. Those who grow their food without pesticides and herbicides also save the planet from extra air and water pollution. While cultivating a backyard garden might be ideal, even apartment residents can start by growing herbs on a windowsill, tomatoes and lettuces in containers and creating a compost pile.
Skip the produce aisle at the supermarket and instead visit your local farmer’s market for a variety of locally grown foods. Don’t have time to browse?
Consider getting together a group of friends and sign up for a local weekly fresh vegetables and fruits delivery from local farmers to your door —you can choose the fruits and veggies you want and know where exactly they’re coming from.
We don’t mean eating at the locally owned restaurant around the corner. Part of encouraging local eating is supporting restaurants that serve locally grown food. You can find out more about a restaurant’s practices just by asking the server or by doing your own research.
If starting your own windowsill herb garden seems intimidating, find some support by joining a community garden, where everyone works together to cultivate fresh produce and keep the neighbourhood green. There are various local veggie garden projects across Portugal. Find out if there’s one near you.
One of the easiest ways to eat locally is simply to eat the fruits and veggies currently in season where you live. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint by minimizing the distance the produce has to travel to get to your plate.
Yes, you can freeze certain fruits and veggies for up to a year and a half! The key is to freeze them when they’re at their freshest. You can also learn to can fresh produce or turn it into jams and pickles.
As with any health habit, it’s best to set one realistic goal related to local eating instead of overhauling your whole diet. Think about five foods you currently consume (anything from apples to eggs) that you can buy locally on your next shopping trip. Eventually that number may expand to include the contents of your whole fridge.