farmers market

Why You Should Eat a Local Diet

by Amber on June 28, 2012

In Sacramento, only 2% of what’s grown locally is consumed locally. Meanwhile, the average supermarket food travels 1,500 miles from farm to fork—a 25% increase since 1980. The recent locavore movement encourages us to eat local—but why?

Impacts of a Local Diet
Is being locavore an environmental cause? An economic choice? A nutritional decision? The answer is: all of the above!

When it comes to eating locally, the impacts are far-reaching. While some folks aim to define locavorism, there are many subtle nuances to local consumption, and the factors to be considered vary widely from item to item.

Environmental Benefits of Locavorism
The entire global food chain may account for a third of what’s heating our planet. Carbon is emitted from transporting food long distances, and there’s a mess of methane being released from massive factory cattle farms—to name a few ozone-related concerns.

Locavores argue that eating close to home can help reduce the carbon food print. If you ride your bike to the farmers market, or walk out your back door to pick a tomato from the vine, you can eat your meals with very little environmental impact.

Yet, buying local alone is not the answer if the environment is your number one concern. Other factors to an environmentally holistic diet should be considered. For instance, is your food organic? Fossil fuels and pesticides pollute the earth.

Does your food sustain the land? Natural habitat is lost to vast monoculture crops used solely to feed cattle. In fact, according to a University of Chicago study, the most planet-friendly diet is a plant-based diet containing little or no meat or dairy.

Yet, for many locavores, the environment is just one factor of many. Local community and economy are also important.

Economic Impact of Eating Local
When you buy locally, such as purchasing food from the farmers market, your dollars circulate your community five times. Yet, when you buy from a supermarket chain or big box store, those same dollars circulate the community only twice.

Additionally, consumers are reported to have 10 times as many conversations at the farmers market as they do at the grocery store. Meanwhile, quality of life expands when communities begin to build more gardens, farmers markets, and allow for backyard chickens.

Nutritional Benefits of Living la Vida Locavore
Local food has more nutrition: a report by the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment found that food traveling long distances will be less nutritious than food grown and consumed locally, because food begins to lose nutrients after harvested.

People who shop at farmers markets have been found to consume more fruits and vegetables than those who shop at the traditional supermarket—a clear win for your health.

Yet, beyond the locavore diet, organic foods demand consideration if health is a priority. Several studies have found that organic produce contains higher levels of vitamins and nutrients than those sprayed with pesticides.

Where to Start?
With so many factors to consider when adding food to your grocery bag, where should a locavore start? I share my personal rules for living la vida locavore here.

Use these rules as a starting point. Depending on where you live, I encourage you to come up with rules that apply to your particular geography and lifestyle. They may vary wildly from mine—and that’s okay! One joy of living la vida locavore is being allowed to make the rules up as you go. It’s an adventure!

Thumbnail image for GOOD Times at the GOOD Market

GOOD Times at the GOOD Market

June 3, 2012

Today marked the opening of the GOOD: street food + design market, a welcome new addition to Del Paso Blvd. The market provides an all-in-one experience with coffee, wine, beer, […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Locavore Love Potion Cocktail Recipe

Locavore Love Potion Cocktail Recipe

February 10, 2012

This Valentine’s Day, mix up a little love potion for your sweetheart. The secret ingredients sure to make your honey swoon?—everything but the vodka is locally grown. Sweet, juicy citrus […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Farmers Market Carrot and Raisin Citrus Salad Recipe

Farmers Market Carrot and Raisin Citrus Salad Recipe

February 8, 2012

Hello, color! Want to put some spark on your plate? Ignite some passion with this refreshing and simple dish. I grew up eating this salad. As a picky child, I […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Flowering Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

Flowering Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

January 19, 2012

Introducing: the world’s prettiest vegetable! Flowering kale. Traditionally used as an ornamental landscaping plant, this lovely lady is fit for your kitchen table, too. Flowering kale packs the same healthy […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Red Walnut Cookie Recipe & Red Walnut Facts

Red Walnut Cookie Recipe & Red Walnut Facts

January 16, 2012

Red walnuts. Ever heard of them? This rare blood-red California crop grows on only five contiguous acres in the state, and is hard to find. I’m a big nut fan—I […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New at the Farmers’ Market!

New at the Farmers’ Market!

February 14, 2011

California farmers make living la vida locavore easy. And it just keeps getting easier. In fact, the Sacramento farmers’ market is practically a complete grocery experience. We’ve had tortillas, bread, […]

Read the full article →

Seasonal Finds at Farmers Market: Pickles, Cactus, & Cutting Celery

September 6, 2010

Dill pickles, a new seasonal treat at the Sacramento market.   If you don’t slow down, you can miss a lot at the downtown Sacramento farmers market. It’s a bustling […]

Read the full article →

Food, Inc. Acclaimed Film Airs on KVIE Tomorrow Night

April 21, 2010

Last July, I wrote a review for a documentary that has been sweeping America: Food, Inc. The movie has even enjoyed its moment in the limelight on Oprah. Food, Inc. […]

Read the full article →

Living Christmas Trees at the Farmers’ Market

December 8, 2009

Looking for a living Christmas tree? You’ve got to check out the local Sunday farmers’ market here in Sac. Read my full story: http://sacrag.com/2009/12/christmas-at-the-farmers%e2%80%99-market/.

Read the full article →

Farmers’ Market Supper: Veggie-Smothered Cheese Enchiladas

October 14, 2009

Fast suppers don’t have to skimp on freshness. This meal was prepared almost entirely with farmers’ market ingredients. The extra groceries came directly from those I usually keep on stock […]

Read the full article →

Farmers’ Market Brunch

September 24, 2009

Today’s menu: light, fluffy scrambled eggs hidden under a thin layer of gooey cheese and a fire-alarm salsa. Salsa made of tangy, crisp cactus, rich heirloom tomatoes, blazing red and […]

Read the full article →

Cooking Light: Why Don’t I Marry It?

October 1, 2008

I hear his footsteps coming up the front porch. I hold my breath. I am motionless with anticipation. Clomp. Clomp. Up one step. Then the next. Finally! He reaches the […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for My Main Squeeze: Making My Own Orange Juice

My Main Squeeze: Making My Own Orange Juice

August 5, 2008

Most folks jump-start their mornings with a jolt of liquid caffeine. I was once among the coffee addicts of the world. When I quit, cold turkey, it was orange juice […]

Read the full article →