Why seasonal foods are better…for you and the environment!
I can`t stress this enough and I personally know it is difficult to solemnly follow the seasonal availability of food giving the widespread accessibility of different food throughout the year and competitive prices, but I make all efforts to do so…why? Read what follows…
Don´t you find yourself at times wandering up and down the fruit and vegetable aisle at your local supermarket and notice blueberries, blackberries, aubergines, peas and tomatoes… but hold on, it’s Winter and these fruits and vegetables aren’t in season.
We’ve become so accustomed to eating what we want when we want that it’s difficult to imagine otherwise…how people did it back in the days?? Live by just eating foods that were grown and harvested according to different times of the year…but they did, and that is why we are here!
There are positive benefits to eating foods that are available at the time they should be, not only because of taste, but because it is good for your health, good for the economic sphere of your community (town, country) and good for the environment.
One of the biggest benefits of eating seasonal food is that you’ll save yourself some money because you’re buying food that doesn’t take as much effort to produce (nature is prepared already to make it grow, leaving surplus of supply) nor to make it get to your local supermarket (transportation costs). That is why in seasons like Winter you can find easily vegetables as turnips, beetroot, leeks, brussels sprouts much cheaper – grown locally and in season! In the long run you will also save money in your health…more to read…
Supporting local economy
Here I would look from smaller to bigger, meaning preferably buy from small local grocery stores or farmers markets (local producers); you’ll have a better chance at getting foods that are in season and fresh and many farmers markets are likely to offer organic and sustainable products. For some goods it can cost more money if you compare with a big retailer – a supermarket – but it can be worthwhile in the long run. Remember, the majority of big chains of food distribution considers only the best profit possible – acquiring at the lowest price from farmers (doesn’t mean it is fair or it will payoff all hard work, hence state agriculture funds…), getting as much as possible from one go to mitigate transportation costs and using refrigeration methods and other means to storage food before it’s ready to be sold on the shelves.
With this I am not saying all big chains comply with this, as far as I know there are some local supermarkets that buy as much as possible to local farmers/producers, only what the country cannot compete, for not in season, the company outsources – just read the labels to get my point!
Nutritional and Healthy Food
Foods that are in season and available locally offer a higher nutritional value than those that are out of season. In other words, food grown locally will have more nutrients and vitamins since the time between harvest and deliver is less. Eating seasonal foods will support your body’s natural healing properties. For example, this season offers lots of green vegetables as kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage in the northern hemisphere. All are a very good source of fibre, as well as containing vitamins A, C, E and K, presence of antioxidants that helps in preventing damage of DNA and cellular tissue.
Looking after the planet
Purchasing local foods and eating within the seasons helps to protect our planet. You’re reducing the number of miles your food has to travel before it reaches your plate, and this helps to reduce the amount of fuel used and amount of CO2 that is building up in the atmosphere (contributing in part to the alarming climate change tendency we have seen in the last decade) – remember food distribution in big chains depend on long transportation routes.
Also, seasonal produce can grow without too much added chemical assistance i.e. pesticides and genetically modification. We know now how these toxic compounds can contaminate the water and soil and also our health…
I know you´ll be thinking again to buy that exotic fruit or that cucumber and endive for your fresh salad…think it is not meant to be eaten now, redesign your diet and lifestyle for a healthier YOU and healthier Planet!