Article Written By : Elizabeth Ray MS RDN LD
The Ripple Effect of Fresh Farm Foods Grown Locally
As a dietitian nutritionist I have opportunity of make loads of money by endorsing a variety of food brands, but I choose to advocate for fresh farm foods grown locally. Local farm foods are optimal in nutrition, and I have seen the powerful ripple effect of eating fresh and local.
For example, the power of good nutrition starts when a person chooses to switch from eating out of boxes and bags to filling his/her plate with fresh farm foods grown locally. This simple choice acts as a catalyst that changes the trajectory of that person’s health, habits, and wellbeing.
These changes begin to write a new food story that impresses upon those in the household, workplace, and social group. Food has a way of binding us together while opening our eyes. Thus, a simple food choice can initiate a wave of influence onto those around you.
Purchasing your food locally creates another wave of impact beyond your health, family, and friends. This wave benefits the local economy. Choosing to keep your dollar within your home region builds a strong, robust local community.
In addition, choosing fresh farm foods grown locally allows the natural landscape to stay in the hands of the intentional care of the farmer. Tending the health of the soil reduces our carbon footprint and helps preserve natural resources.
In the end, we are all connected. We are connected to one another and to the Earth. One choice has the ability to impact the world. Eating fresh farm foods grown locally is the most delicious! And it’s the best way change your life, those who you hold close, your community, and beyond!
Stop Debating, Start Defining
Before we dive into the 25 reasons why fresh farm foods grown locally are best, let’s first define : fresh farm foods and foods grown locally.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there is no legal definition for food grown locally. In fact, the Farm Act of 2008 indicates that food produced and sold within a 400 mile radius or within the same state can be considered ‘local.’ These parameters seem regional not local.
Unfortunately, the same is true for fresh farm foods. Since the Food & Drug Administration reports confusion among date labels on food packaging, there is definitely a disconnect on the meaning of ‘fresh.’
Therefore, for the brevity of this article, here are my interpretations :
For produce, eggs and baked goods, fresh farm foods are harvested/prepared 0-1 days before getting into the hands of the consumer.
Food grown locally is produced in the same county a person resides or within 50 miles of home.
Since food definitions are up for interpretation, how food is grown/raised is also up for debate. Therefore, I make it my business to know the origin my food. Click here to sign up for my newsletter, and get my top 9 questions to ask your local food producers to ensure freshness, farming practices, and more.
I choose to buy fresh farm foods grown locally at my community’s Farmers’ Market. My local fruit and vegetable growers practice natural and/or organic farming, while my local meat and egg producers practice ethical and natural meat standards.
Fresh Farm Foods Grown Locally & YOU!
1. Optimal Nutrition
Our bodies need nutrients to grow, maintain and function. And since food quickly loses nutrient content once harvested, it is best to consume food soon after it is picked.
Food sold by the local farmer is usually taken from the garden and quickly placed in the hands of the consumer. Eating in-season, fresh farm foods are the best way to optimize your nutrition!
2. Fresh Farm Foods Looks and Tastes Better
Food grown locally is well cared for during development, and is harvested at a time when it’s best for the food. The rich color of the food is directly linked to the nutrient content, as is the texture of the food. Ultimately, all of this leads to fresh farm foods great taste and appearance!
3. Foods Grown Locally are Sold without Coloring, Waxes and Preservatives
Many foods sold at the grocery store are enhanced with coloring and preservatives. These foods also have added waxes to enhance or retain a fresh appearance. Foods grown locally don’t need lipstick to look good!
4. Foods Grown Locally Grown are Sold without Added Sugar and Processed Fats
Added sugar and processed fats are linked to chronic illness like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. My local farmer grinds fresh peanuts to make the best peanut butter ever! Why would he mess up nature’s goodness by adding sugar, sweetened syrup, processed oils and/or fake fats?!
5. Foods Grown Locally are Sold without Flavor Enhancers
Unfortunately there are several within the food industry that worry more about getting your dollar than keeping you healthy. Adding flavor enhancers to their products increases your risk of overeating! Fresh farm foods grown locally don’t come with food addiction!
Even though fresh farm foods grown locally are delicious, you have little risk of overeating and becoming addicted! Like who has binged broccoli and felt guilty later? No.one.ever!
6. Fresh Farm Foods have Extra Benefits
Vitamins and minerals usually shadow the powerful benefits of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Antioxidants are like the garbage collectors of the body, while phytonutrients acts like body guards. Both work hard and synergistly to keep you healthy, happy and looking great!
Another overlooked benefit of fresh farm foods is dietary fiber! Fiber is known to help with digestive health and regularity. Most people think whole grains are the best way to get fiber, however a plate full of fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring fiber that rivals fortified grains!
7. More Nutrition for the Money
Fresh farm pastured raised eggs have more vitamin A, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and B vitamins when compared to factory raised eggs. Farm fresh eggs also have a more antioxidants that contributes to better eye health.
Store bought eggs, or factory raised eggs cost about $2.50/dozen, where fresh farm pastured raised eggs cost $4.00/dozen. Consider this small price difference an investment, not a cost. Choose to invest in nutrient dense foods that are locally grown so to reap all the nutrient benefit!
8. A Fun New Hobby for You
Fresh farm foods grown locally come to you unaltered and whole, which will require some food prep. Cooking isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is a great outlet for creativity! Cooking can also help reduce stress and gives a sense of accomplishment! For simple fresh farm recipes, check out farmersmarketnutritionist.com
9. Foods Grown Locally Make Eating Exciting
Most local growers have niches but are also exploring new foods and products to bring to their customers. For instance, I felt so enthusiastic to try duck eggs, goat meat, and chestnut mushrooms in the 2021 Spring season! It was like a new adventure for my taste buds!
Fresh Farm Foods Grown Locally for Your Family and Friends
10. Healthier you = Healthier family
Think about the oxygen bag speech that the flight attendant gives you before take off. You’ve got to do for yourself so that you can be the best for someone else! Plus eating foods grown locally will give you the energy and nutrition you need to keep up with the most fast paced family!
11. Paying It Forward.
Children will grow up to mirror their parents. They will shop at the same grocery store. Buy the same foods. Cook and eat food the same way. And perceive food in the same light. As a parent, you can set a new standard of health and eating when choosing fresh farm foods grown locally!
12. Good Nutrition is Like Investing
Good nutrition is foundational to our health. The nutrient benefits of eating food that is grown locally will accumulate over time, and these benefits are much like investing money. Our children will more than likely to see a bigger return in nutrients as they continue to invest in fresh farm foods!
13. Food is Love & Connects
We use to food to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, holidays, weekends, and just about everything in life! Food communicates love. Our hearts and minds are connected to these food moments. So connect fresh farm foods to make these memories happy and healthy!
14. Food is Your Legacy
Some of your most cherished memories were made in the kitchen. You may not remember the exact recipe for Mama’s Apple Pie, but you do remember spending time with her. And you cherish those simpler times.
In addition, the memories are sweeter when those apples where grown locally. You remember making a trip to the local orchard to purchase those apples! And now you are re-living this memory with the next generation!
15. Bring Inspiration to Your World
I’ve seen it, and you have too! Someone you know made a change in their health, and it dramatically changes the way they show up in the world! Their vibe for life was so inspiring that you were pulled in and left to awe!
Are you waiting for your turn to empower? I encourage you to implement the power of fresh farm foods grown locally to ignite passion and leads those around you!
16. Bonus : New Friends in Knowing Your Farmers
Some of the most enriching and heartfelt conversations have been with my farmers. You see, I am a customer, a friend and a partner with my farmers. They provide me with fresh farm foods grown locally, and it gives me inspiration to recipe create and write!
And as my food following community grows, those farming businesses also grow! Our partnership is a treasure that money can not buy!
Fresh Farm Foods Grown Locally & Your Community
17. Help Small Local Business Thrive
You’ve heard it. “Shop local.” And perhaps you’re already purchasing clothing, running shoes, and coffee from local merchants. I shop local to boost the economy, but I also find these locally purchased products are higher in quality and associated with great customer service.
So if there are tons of benefits to shopping local, what’s holding you back from buying food grown locally? Just like our local merchants, when you choose to buy fresh farm foods grown locally, more of your dollar will be put back into our community.
These growers are managing a farm and operating small businesses. I’ve found that they care about the foods they produce, and also want their patrons to stay happy and healthy! They too are investing in the local economy, but they are also investing in you!
18. Provide Opportunity for Others
Demand for fresh farm foods will increase as we continue to buy our foods grown locally. The increased demand will open opportunities for more small farming businesses to start! Small business is the backbone of the healthy local economy, and we all thrive when there is abundance!
19. Local Land Ownership & Stewardship
As mentioned in the reason number 18, the demand for fresh farm foods will lead to more small farm business. And more farm businesses mean more local land ownership. When land stays in the hands of locals, the economy is stronger!
20. Increase in Ethical Animal Care Practices
We are care takers of the animals of the Earth, thus ethical animal practices are important. The local farmer is also concerned about the life and death of their animals.
The local farmer cares for the wellbeing of their animals by making sure that they have assess to safe open fields, good food and fresh water. And when it comes to slaughter, the local farmer is very selective when choosing the time for the animal and the method of death.
When demand for fresh farm foods grown locally increases, this creates opportunity for farmers to expand the herd, purchase more local land, and elevate ethical animal care practices.
21. Better Farming Practices.
Farming may be assumed to be simple. Like, plant a seed and watch it grow. However there is an art and science to farming.
For instance, the farmer has to understand the composition of the soil, and anticipate the needs of the plant and/or animal. The farmer also has to watch the weather so to make calculated risks do the benefit of their plants and/or animals.
When demand for fresh farm foods grown locally is increased, this makes way for continued research and education. Societies improve when quality education is available. Moreover, societies thrive when quality food is plentiful.
Fresh Farm Foods Grown Locally & Our Planet
22. Less Wastes Add Up
In 2014, it was estimated that 103 billion plastic grocery bags were used in the United States. Since recycling rates for plastic bags are low, these bags create significant marine pollution and landfill waste. Bringing your own bag is a start.
And choosing to shop fresh farm foods will not only help cut down the usage of plastic grocery bags but also the plastic bags that are used to gather and purchase produce!,
23. Less Travel Time Saves Resources
In 2003, Michigan State University discovered that food grown locally traveled about 56 miles, whereas it took about 1,500 miles for grocery store produce to get to the market. Choosing to purchase fresh farm foods grown locally will dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels.
24. Soil Stewardship Creates a Safe Environment
Good stewardship of the land will lead to rich soil. Rich soil is made with the help of rotating animals and a variety of plant life. This method of soil stewardship increases the yield of fresh farm foods. It also minimizes pollution from water run off and reduces our carbon foot print.
25. Reduce Toxins in the Air, Soil, and Water
According to PennState Extension, ‘for all pesticides to be effective…they must be…toxic.” Experts will argue that get small dosages or residue on our food outweighs the benefits of using chemicals to yield a larger crop output.
Here are my questions : Why would anyone want to ingest poison, even a small dose? Also who is measuring the amount of these toxins in our food supply? Can they be sure that these small doses aren’t harmful to our bodies and in the environment?
Unfortunately, I can’t find a clear answer. However I do know that switching from conventionally grown foods to foods grown locally is a step in the right direction.
In addition, talk to your farmer about growing practices. The demand for food grown without toxins may be what changes the minds of every farmer. Therefore, use your voice and your dollar to drive demand for safer food and a healthier environment.
Fresh Farm Foods Grown Locally Can Change the World!
Fresh farm foods grown locally are best for you, your family, your community and the environment! So if there are tons of benefits, what’s holding you back?
Your local food producers are managing farmlands and operating a small businesses. I’ve found that they care about the foods they produce, and also want their patrons to stay happy and healthy! They too are investing in the local economy, but they are also investing in you!
For most of us, our lively hood is dependent on upon the production of our work. However the farmers that I know don’t farm as a means for the money. They do it because they love it!
Many local growers are bi-vocational. They work full time jobs Monday through Friday, and then set up on the weekends to sell the product in their free time. If this isn’t passion, I’m not sure what you would call it!
Because our local farmers are deeply invested in their growing process, these values bring about high quality products. These products are food, and the last I checked our health and well being has a lot to do with what we choose to eat.
So again, if you aren’t eating fresh farm foods grown locally, why not? Are you stuck in a perpetual habit of going to the grocery? Are you uncertain about food costs, or what types of payment is needed? Or are you just unsure how to prepare foods?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, I’m here to help! Join my free Facebook Community Farmers’ Market Nutritionist for simple recipes and tips for getting the most out of eating local. Also sign up for my monthly Farmers’ Market Nutritionist newsletter!
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