Sometimes as bloggers, we write things that we want other people to read, and sometimes we write things that we need to remember ourselves. Sometimes when you are making a change, it helps to say it out loud to someone else to make it more real for yourself. Today, I need to say out loud that I am re-committing to eating local food (Everyone falls off the wagon at some point.) These are eight reasons why you might always want to eat local.
1. Allergies Eating locally made honey is supposed to be good for your allergies because the bees are using the local pollen, what is likely causing your allergic reactions. It is the same theory as a vaccine – if you are given a little, your body learns how to fight it, so you develop an immunity. Plus, you’re much more likely to get actual honey than at a store.
2. The real scoop Often when shopping at farmers markets, you get to talk to the actual farmers to get the real scoop on the types of chemicals were used, where animals reside, and what they are fed. Just because something is labeled organic does not mean that chemicals have not been used.
3. Fresher The closer you are to the field or tree from which your food came, the less time that food spent traveling to get to you, and the more likely it is to be as fresh as possible.
4. Support the local economy Wouldn’t you rather support a family farm than a major corporation? You will benefit when your community benefits from the taxes that this local entrepreneur is paying.
5. Meet new people It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for more friends or interested in making business connections, visiting farmers markets and local stores is the best way to find out about other local gems that you may not have known about just yet.
6. Samples Nearly every stand at farmers markets seem to give out samples. It is a great way to show people just how fabulous their products are, and it will make you feel confident that you are getting a good product.
7. Bring your dog The Big Blue Dog loves going places, and Three Dog Bakery often has samples for him, too (probably more than he needs!) There are often lots of dogs at the farmers markets here; one is even across the parking lot from a dog park!
8. Cook less – You can generally get a farm fresh breakfast while shopping, which certainly makes it easier to get up and out of the house on a Saturday morning.
In Indianapolis, I really don’t have any good excuses. Seasonally, we have farmers markets at least four times per week (that I can think of off the top of my head). We have a winter farmers market as well on Saturdays. Just a few blocks further from the small, healthy grocery chain I frequent is a local store that sells fresh produce, baked goods, eggs, milk, and more. We also have the Indianapolis City Market with local vendors, including fresh goods and produce every day.
It is mostly about switching my mindset and thinking a little bit more for me. Others are not as lucky to have so many options within driving distance, but a little planning and creativity will pay off for anyone who wants to try eating local foods.