As you know, I signed up for the NY 2012 Locavore Challenge. It is a month-long campaign to encourage consumers across New York to eat local foods. Over the 30 days of the challenge, they propose a different mini-challenge everyday. Today is Day 4 and today's challenge is to "share the challenge via social media." I decided to share it with you guys, and talk about 3 reasons why you should source locally.

1) Eating local foods means eating fresher foods. Since the food is not spending time in transit or being cold-stored, the food is fresher. Fresher food means better taste and more nutritional value. Next time you are at the farmer's market, ask the farmer how long ago his/her produce was picked. Most produce at a farmer's market is harvested 24 hrs before it is sold. This means that the produce is picked at the peak of it's ripeness. 
2) Speaking of asking the farmer, eating locally allows you to build a relationship with your farmer. Why is this important? So that you can know what is going into the food that you are buying. FYI, the beef that you are buying in your supermarket might have been fed rainbow colored candy (true story). Building a relationship with your farmer allows you to gain a sense of trust and hold your farmer to a standard of integrity for where your food is coming from.

3) Last, but most certainly not least, eating local reduces our ecological footprint. The average item of food travels 1,500 miles from the farm to the plate. The amount of energy that requires is ridiculous. For example, in the case of packaged lettuce traveling from California to New York, it takes 56 calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver 1 calorie of food energy to your plate. That's insane. (Source: Why Eat Local? Michael Pollan

3 Arguments Against Eating Local

1) It is too expensive. I get that not everyone can afford organic/grass fed/pastured meat all the time, and that people have different priorities for where they want to spend their money. But I don't think that it's impossible to cook a local vegetarian meal once a week, with locally sourced veggies. If you pick the right ones, the veggies are usually not more expensive than the ones your find at the super market, and they are a hell of a lot fresher.

2) I just don't have time. A lot of people say the reason they don't eat local is because they don't have time to cook a home cooked meal. I know hectic schedules can make it hard to cook at home, but there are plenty of restaurants in New York that are sourcing locally. It just takes a Google search to find one in your area. Usually, the restaurants that are sourcing locally are healthier and rely less on processed ingredients.

3)  It is inconvenient. Honestly, I don't know what to say about this one. I think that it's just like taking a trip to the grocery store, except better because you can ask your farmers specific questions about their produce or meat. If you want to do it, you can incorporate it into your weekly schedule. If you don't, well then see the above 3 reasons to eat local.



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