Let’s talk about what the benefits really are of eating fresh and local food. Thanks to our former intern, Yue Ye, from UNBSJ’s MBA program, for much of this research.
LifeDirt produce boxes enable you to eat with the seasons (for the most part: we do include some imported produce to keep the boxes interesting, especially during the winter months). This means a lot of root veggies in the winter, and a lot of fresh greens and berries in the summer. We also source from local greenhouses, which have a longer growing season and therefore provide greater diversity in terms of local produce.
Eating locally and seasonally is one way to help protect the environment and live a healthy life. Eating local seasonal food shortens the distribution chain and therefore creates a small carbon footprint, less pollution and less waste. Specifically:
- Eating seasonal food reduces GHGE (greenhouse gas emissions) because it does not require high-energy input from artificial heating or lighting to grow to produce out of season (Macdiarmid, 2014).
- Buying locally means less transportation and thus less GHGE from shipping vehicles. Moreover, unlike long-distance shipping, which requires more complicated packaging and other preservation methods on fruits and vegetables to keep them stable for transport (Lawrence, Jeanne, & Robert, 2022), short-distance transportation required by local purchasing generally means less packaging and processes on the produce. This results in less plastic use, less environmental pollution, and less food and other sources wasted in the process.
- Eating locally can support sustainable agriculture. Small-scale local farming generally promotes crop diversity. As a result, the reliance on monoculture, or single crops that are grown over a large area to the detriment of soils, is reduced (Kay, 2017).
- Supporting agro-ecological farms promotes healthy ecosystems. Local farms that use sustainable practices can enhance biodiversity, protect pollinators that are critical to healthy ecosystems, and promote clean air, water, and soil (Streit, 2021). We’ll get more into this in future posts.
In a broader sense, I believe that eating with the seasons can help ground us and connect us to the Earth as we eat what she provides according to the weather conditions in our region. Even local greenhouse-grown produce comes to us much fresher than imported goods in the grocery stores. According to some traditions, the fresher the food the more life force energy it contains. It has greater capacity to nourish and heal us. That sounds pretty good to me.