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Benefits of eating locally grown food

A freelance writer based in Memphis, TN, Wendy Marie embraces the art of food, entertainment and laughter and is dedicated to sharing her passions with others. If she's not dining at and blogging about a locally owned restaurant, then sh...

Be a locavore

You may be wondering what the big deal is about eating locally grown foods. Sure, it's trendy and is more environmentally friendly, but it's also a tasty-fresh alternative to the days-old food in supermarkets. If you’re debating whether or not to become a locavore, here are some facts to chew on.

Woman shopping locally

1Locally grown foods taste better

Locally grown foods are fresher and in season, which translates into better taste. Your local farmer, who plants and harvests for local consumers, is able to grow seasonal crops that are at their heights of freshness, nutritional value and, by extension, taste. Consuming your local seasonal crops also means they are at their most abundant and, therefore, at their least expensive.

Consider this: Those fruits and vegetables that you like to eat year-round are made available at the expense of flavor. The mass quantities of fruits and vegetables in your big-box grocery store are more likely to be grown out of season and picked before they're ripe.

Easy recipes using farmers market produce >>

2Locally grown foods are greener -- and safer

Locally grown foods have less environmental impact than their supermarket counterparts; they travel shorter distances, minimizing energy consumption and pollution. They're better for you because they are handled less and have less exposure to harmful contaminants. Conversely, food that travels from afar leaves a bigger carbon footprint and has more opportunity to come in contact with a greater array of contaminants. More contaminants mean more harm to the environment and higher risk of foodborne illness for you, the consumer.

Energy-saving recipes: Reducing your carbon footprint in the kitchen >>

3Locally grown foods offer more variety

Your purchases enable local growers to resist the pressure to produce specific, high-yielding crops; they have the freedom to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables. This can mean a totally different crop or different varieties of a single crop. Just as the grower gets to try new fruits and vegetables, you do, too.

What is my planting zone? >>

4Locally grown foods benefit your community

Purchasing locally grown foods supports your community and fosters community building. Each and every time you purchase locally grown foods, you directly contribute to your local economy. You also ensure that the hands that toiled and cared for the harvest actually reap the economic benefits. Additionally, when you buy from your local grower, you create a direct link to that person versus a connection to a faceless corporate grocery store.

Farmers market survival guide >>

The advantages of eating locally grown foods extend far beyond the immediate benefit of freshness and flavor. You can do your part to care for the environment and your community one delicious bite at a time. Now, that's something you can sink your teeth into!

How to eat locally in winter

Eating locally offers a bounty of benefits, from fresher foods to economy and environmental friendliness. Learn how to get your mitts on seasonal goods all year-round.

More tips for eating locally

Finding local produce -- & why you should make the effort
10 Farmers market shopping tips
Produce power! What to buy & what to avoid

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