Food is one of the most significant aspects of any culture. It is like that one big unifier that brings together communities and generations with feelings of warmth and belonging. The food that we have grown up eating provides us an identity, connection and lifelong memories. There are strong culinary traditions in every culture. Our food related beliefs and practices also involve the surrounding environment and networks that deal with production and distribution of food related ingredients. These ingredients change according to the season and so does the menu in our kitchens.
The closer we are to the origins of our food, the better it is for our mind, body and soul. All-season/processed food that has reached you from a distant land, losing its nutrients on the way, can be a fancy ingredient in your meal but will be devoid of true flavor and nutritional value. OneFitplus encourages its customers to consume local, seasonal and traditional food because of the innumerable benefits involved. Locally grown food is fresh and loses fewer nutrients because it doesn’t spend much time in transit from the farm to the plate. Shopping and eating locally also makes you eat mindfully, as you feel connected to your food since you may have also grown up eating the same. Eating seasonally, encourages you to try new food options and be more creative in the kitchen.
When we eat locally, we eat with the seasons and the cycle of seasonal produce is perfectly designed to assist our holistic health. You also have a better chance to stick to a diet that includes local food, as opposed to non-native food. Locally grown food is good for the environment and the local economy as well. It’s simple to understand why we should consume local, seasonal and traditional food. They are:
Fresh and full of flavour: Local food is grown and sold through neighbourhood farms and markets, catering to the needs to the local community instead of a bigger consumer base. Since the produce is local, it doesn’t spend hours on the roads in trucks to reach the consumer. It is absolutely fresh when being brought. Also, since the produce from nearby locations is freshly picked, it is ripe and delicious with vitamins and minerals at their peak. In contrast to non-local produce that is harvested even before it has ripened, local fruits and vegetables stay on their stems until they are fully ripe, only after which they are harvested. This brings out their best flavour and texture. So if you want the tastiest fruits and vegetables, head to your local farmer’s market.
Carry more nutrients: We have to keep in mind that the longer vegetables and fruits spend in a storage house or a transport vehicle before reaching your kitchen, the bigger is the loss of essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. The enzymes present inside fresh produce start feeding on the vital nutrients from the time they are picked. By the time, the produce reaches the consumer, it has already lost precious nutrient value. The closer you are to the source of your produce, the shorter time it takes to reach your table. And hence, the nutrient content remains more or less the same in locally grown food. Besides, you get a chance to consume a bigger variety of produce when you purchase them closer home. All varieties of the same produce do not get transported and are only available locally. A diverse variety means you also benefit from a wide range of nutrients. OneFitplus diet coaches insist that we should consume seasonal fruits and vegetables as they are high in phytonutrient content, in addition to carotenes, folate and vitamin C, A and B.
They are safe: To increase the shelf life of the produce, several growers and super market chains use preservatives and chemicals. The produce is tampered with such artificial things to make it last the several kilometres long journey before reaching the final destination. This is not the case with local produce which is harvested only when fresh and ripe and are sold in small batches in regional communities. Hence, there is no need to preserve them. By eating local and seasonal stuff, we are saved from the damaging effects of chemicals and preservatives. Local farmers tend to use natural pesticides to safeguard their crop and also allow the produce to grow at its own speed which makes the roots go deeper, gaining more nutrients from the soil.
Support the local economy: When you consume locally grown and seasonal food, you support the local economy, helping it thrive and prosper. Unlike big supermarket chains, local sellers have no middlemen, which ensures that there is no siphoning off profit. When the local farming businesses and food producers gets continuous demand, they are able to ramp up profits and in turn, employ more people. The money you spend on local produce, stays in the local economy creating new jobs and further boosting other businesses. Local farms and farmer’s markets also create opportunities for agro-tourism. The close local network brings the community together with empowered consumers and successful producers.
Good for the environment: With a much shorter supply chain system in local produce network, there is less scope for wastage of resources normally seen during storage, transportation and distribution. Since there is also not much travel involved, there is hardly any fuel consumption and consequent emission of greenhouse gases. When you buy from local farms, you ensure that green open spaces remain undamaged and un-encroached by urban marauders. There is no single use plastic packaging involved which considerably reduces the carbon footprint. Local food consumption helps us promote sustainable agriculture and protect the environment.
Keep you close to your roots: By consuming locally grown food, we get to meet, communicate and better understand our local farmer. Our children can visit the farms and physically observe how crop is sown, raised and harvested. Instead of hankering over expensive “exotic” produce shipped from distant places, we get to consume cheap yet healthy and nutrient dense local produce. We have grown up eating traditional food that our bodies are most accustomed to. By using those grains, fruits and vegetables, we go back to our traditional recipes and get closer to our roots again. Traditional food gives us the maximum comfort, satiety and security.
In the current times, the best idea of living would be to think globally but act locally. Having local, seasonal and traditional food gives us the benefit of good health along with a thriving regional community and a safe environment. Every season comes with plenty of fresh produce, that can be utilized to whip up exciting new recipes in the kitchen. It’s time we encourage the farm-to-table trend by prioritizing local food and clean eating, that will go a long way in keeping our health in top shape.