Most varieties of produce that you find in the supermarket are bred to be bigger, more pest and drought resistant, and more uniform in shape than their home-garden cousins. They are also bred to withstand long shipping times and extended waits on store shelves. While all this may make the produce department look nice, it comes at a cost.

When You Eat Locally, You Get More Nutritious Food

The size of our produce, like our bodies, has increased, but the nutritional value has not; studies show that today's commercial produce has far lower levels of nutrients than those grown 40 years ago.

Small farmers and home gardeners are growing completely different varieties of produce than mainstream producers. They're also growing them in soils that haven't been depleted of nutrients, so you get more vitamins and minerals per bite. This also applies to locally-raised meat and homegrown eggs. The old saying, "You are what you eat" is especially true when it comes to meat-producing animals, and locally-raised animals, who've been fed more nutritious diets themselves, in turn produce more nutritious meat. If better nutrition alone isn't enough to convince you to go local, consider the following facts.

Locally-Grown Food Has No Preservatives or Irradiation

When you think of fresh food, preservatives are probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, many foods are treated with some sort of preservative in order to keep them stable during long shipping. You may be aware that apples and cucumbers are coated with "wax"; what you may not be aware of is that this "wax" is not a wax at all, but a combination of many substances including antimicrobials, antifungals, and plasticizers. And this "edible coating" isn't just limited to apples, cucumbers, and squash – it's used on a huge variety of produce including lettuce and spinach, and even applied to some meats. A lot of food is also irradiated. That is, it's exposed to a beam of radiation, like an X-ray, in order to kill any bacteria, fungi, and the like. If edible plastic coatings and X-rayed food aren't to your taste, going local avoids the issue.

It Encourages Cooking From Scratch

As the saying goes: "real food doesn't have ingredients, real food IS ingredients." When you eat locally, you're choosing real food with real nutrition, and you're going to need to cook it yourself. Cooking from scratch is not only satisfying, it eliminates much of the downside of modern food, like added sugar and salt, unhealthy fats, and the like. Cooking from scratch by its very nature teaches you to eat healthier, and eating locally promotes cooking for yourself.

If you've never experienced a tomato still hot from the garden sun, or home-grown chicken or beef, you haven't experienced real food. Supermarket foods are intended to keep well and look pretty, but home-grown food is meant to taste great.

Article Courtesy of

Alan Somerville
Tagged: healthy nutrition