By Cole Manor Healthy Comet staff | When people visit their grocery store these days, a lot of them are looking for food that is “locally grown.” Experts say that being mindful of where your food comes from can benefit both your own health and the environment.
One of those experts is Megan Carrier, a registered dietitian at Einstein Healthcare Network. She explains that “locally grown” means the food doesn’t need a plane, a train, or a long-haul truck to get to the store. It usually is grown within about 400 miles of the store where it is sold.
Ms. Carrier listed several health and environmental benefits of locally grown food:
- Because it doesn’t travel very far, locally grown food reduces gasoline costs and emissions. It helps keep harmful gases like carbon dioxide out of the air. These gases contribute to climate change.
- Fruits and vegetables grown nearby are fresher. When they have to travel from a far distance, they are picked early, before they can fully ripen. Waiting longer wouldn’t be a good idea because they would be rotten by the time they reached the store. Fruits and vegetables that have more time to ripen before they are harvested also are more nutritious.
- Locally grown food reduces the risk of introducing bugs or plants that might travel with the food to an area where they don’t belong. Non-native bugs and plants can destroy crops and harm the soil.
- When people buy locally grown food, they are supporting local farmers. In that way, they also are protecting green spaces that might otherwise be sold for new buildings.