Eating local and seasonal foods provides a wide range of benefits to one’s health, economy, and environment. But insufficient food supply and climate changes make people import food from other countries which are far away. Certain vegetables are common all over the world and people prefer cooking the same all year round. This leads to high demand for the same type of vegetables and little or no necessity for other food crops. The low demand for local foods will indirectly affect the farmers, and the same crop may not be planted the next year, directing people to lose seasonal food.
Eating seasonal food benefits sound health and you will get the natural flavor and nutrition of the food directly from the farm without human intervention. Read more to know the significance of local and seasonal foods and their benefits.
Different seasons—summer, fall, winter, and spring—produce a variety of foods based on climatic and geographic conditions. These types of food are called seasonal foods. One can obtain seasonal foods either locally or globally.
According to the US Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, foods that are grown locally or regionally within 400 miles of distance are considered the local food of that region. The best choice is to eat seasonal foods obtained from your location to obtain complete nutrition in a cheaper way.
Today, a particular food has to travel an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches a plate. This would add more economic and ecological difficulties to the human population. So, whenever there is a chance to consume locally grown seasonal food, use it as there are more benefits.
5 benefits of eating local and seasonal food
Provide nutritional balance
Local and seasonal foods can help one consume a variety of crops, vegetables, and fruits. This helps an individual acquire all types of nutrition within a year. One can obtain carbohydrates, proteins, and fats from many common food sources. But certain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are available only in some plant and animal sources. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization also confirmed that food diversity is essential to curb micronutrient deficiencies.
Better flavor and taste
Locally grown vegetables and fruits have a unique flavor, taste, and nutritional value, compared to the ones that are imported. When you eat local and seasonal food, you can feel connected with that food.
Supports the local community
Instead of spending more on buying your favorite veggie which is non-seasonal and far from your region, support your local community by buying vegetables and fruits from a farmer in your area. This way both the farmer and the consumer get benefitted.
Local and seasonal food prices are lower than the imported produce. It is because of the transportation and maintenance costs for those products before they reach the market.
Helps follow a sustainable diet
Eating local and seasonal foods helps protect the environment in many ways. The food distributor needn’t spend large amounts of money buying chemicals, antibiotics, and other supplements to maintain the freshness of the foodstuffs. This way one can bring a sustainable food diet into your daily life.
Drawbacks of seasonal foods
On comparing the advantages and disadvantages of seasonal foods, there are certain cons.
- Seasonal foods can’t be obtained in other seasons except for a particular period of time. One has to wait for the next year to relish the taste.
- Importing costs are high. For example, if you can’t get Brussels sprouts in your area, you can get them from other countries. But this would cost more.
Get a seasonal food guide from your nutritionist or dietician to experience the diverse flavors and tastes. This would help you eat healthier and tastier with less investment.