Eat Local Acadiana
Jun 13, 2016 11:29AM
● By Daphne Olivier
In the past several years there has been a growing “eat local” movement. So what’s behind it? Why would someone go out of their way to eat foods that have been grown in their local environment? With the change in our food system over the past decades our shift on what is needed for a healthy, nourishing meal has also changed. Eating locally is the beginning of bringing back the connection to our food. Here are five reasons why eating local is beneficial.Food Safety. The government estimates one in six Americans become ill from eating contaminated foods each year, contributing to nearly 3000 deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 22 multistate outbreaks from 2014 to 2015. They were linked to everything from nut butter spreads, cucumbers, cheese, and the infamous Blue Bell ice cream. These outbreaks occur because of a complicated food system from growth to travel to purchase. The incidence of contaminated foods is significantly decreased when the foods are grown and harvested near you.
Creates less environmental impact. The average produce grown in North America spends anywhere from 5 days to several weeks in transit after harvest, travels approximately 1500 miles, and comes from 5 countries to get to your table. Buying local means you eliminate all of the fuel needed for transport.
Taste. Foods that are grown locally simply taste better. Have you ever tried a freshly picked tomato? There’s no comparison.Keeps farmers in business. Much of the food cost going to a farmer goes to cover the transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration, and marketing of that food. It is estimated that an average farmer receives only 20 cents for every dollar spent. However, a local farmer will receive 100% of the dollars spent, which can go back into the farm to prepare for the next crop or back into your community.
Improves local economy. Every time you purchase something that is not from a locally owned business your money is leaving your community. Shopping local keeps money in the community to create local jobs, protects our local culture, and can help a local child with art lessons or sponsor a children’s sports team.
At a time in Acadiana when times are a little tough, small business support is one of the ways to give back. Our producers are a part of that small business that is often forgotten.
About the author: Daphne is a food passionista, farm girl wanna-be and registered yet unconventional dietitian with a private practice – My Food Coach. She focuses on unprocessed, real food and balancing the diet with your lifestyle. Visit her website at myfoodcoach.tv