- Ella Taylor
The Impacts of Gardening & Eating Locally
Did you know there are environmental benefits to eating locally? The term “locavore” refers to people who try to choose locally grown or locally produced food that is in season (McGill 2023). Many locavores only eat food grown or produced within 100 miles of their residence. Others choose to shop only within their community or from farmers they can see and talk to, such as shopping through farmer’s markets (Honeycutt 2017).
Local eating can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Food doesn’t have to travel nearly as far, which reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released. Local eating can also help preserve green space. Also, farmers who are properly compensated tend to avoid selling their land to developers, in comparison to struggling farms (Honeycutt 2017).
There are also many health benefits to eating local food. Eating food grown in season can be much healthier. In fact, researchers have studied the difference between vitamin C levels in seasonally grown broccoli versus imported, out of season broccoli and found that seasonally grown broccoli had much higher levels of vitamin C (Wunderlich et al. 2008).
Also, locally grown food is less likely to be coated in pesticides and chemicals. Many small farmers follow organic practices but are unable to get certified due to the high cost of certification. Local food is also less likely to be full of unsafe chemicals. Often, fruits picked for long-distance transport are unripe and then artificially ripened using ethylene gas (Honeycutt 2017). Locally harvested food is much less likely to go through processes like this.
But of course, there is one simple way to ensure your fruits and vegetables are locally grown and free of dangerous pesticides: gardening! Gardening has health and environmental benefits as well. First of all, did you know that gardening can actually help prevent osteoporosis? It’s true! Gardening both helps increase your vitamin D levels and utilizes weight-bearing exercises like walking and using tools (Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials 2022). Gardening can also reduce risk of dementia, as well as help prevent many other diseases thanks to vitamin D intake (Stanborough 2020).
Gardening also improves mental health and helps fight addiction (Stanborough 2020). It’s truly a magical practice. And the best part is, once you get started, you’ll have fresh, locally grown food that heavily reduces your carbon footprint! Growing your own food can help cut down on CO2 emissions, provide carbon dioxide (especially if you plant trees), and even provide a habitat for local wildlife and bugs. You can also control how much water is used and whether pesticides are applied (Stanborough 2020).
In short, gardening and eating locally have dozens of environmental and physical benefits. Though it may not be easy, it can help you and the environment be happier, healthier, and stronger. Give it a try today!
Ella and her wife, Morgan, welcomed Baby Mabel on April 1, 2023. Ella will be on maternity leave until after the July 4th holiday.
While she's out, Erin--our operations manager--will be holding down the fort. Feel free to reach out to her with questions, concerns, or comments.
(2023).The benefits of eating local foods. McGill. https://www.mcgill.ca/foodservices/sustainability/green/local#:~:text=It's%20good%20for%20the%20environment,local%20farmers%20and%20other%20producers
Honeycutt, Emily. (2017 December 21). Why Buy Local Food? It’s Healthier for You and Better for the Environment. Food Revolution Network. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/why-buy-local-food/
Wunderlich, Shahal, Charles Feldman, Shannon Kane, Taraneh Hazhin. (2008 February). Nutritional quality of organic, conventional, and seasonally grown broccoli using vitamin C as a marker. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17852499/
(2022, May 2). How Gardening Can Improve Your Health. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-gardening/
Stanborough, Rebecca Joy. (2020 June 17) . Seed, Soil, and Sun: Discovering the Many Healthful Benefits of Gardening. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/healthful-benefits-of-gardening