"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." Dalai Lama

Why Eat Local?

by 100milediet.org

FILED IN: Health and Food · Issue 15

13 lucky reasons to buy your veggies from a farmer’s market or your local organic shop…

1 Taste the difference

At a farmers’ market or local organic produce shop, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours. It comes to you ripe, fresh, and with its full flavor, unlike supermarket food that may have been picked weeks or months before. Close-to-home foods can also be bred for taste, rather than withstanding the abuse of shipping or industrial harvesting.

2 Know what you’re eating

Buying food today is complicated. What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was that chicken free range or did it grow up in a box? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers. Many build relationships with farmers whom they trust. And when in doubt, they can drive out to the farms and see for themselves.

3 Meet your neighbours

Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets and local organic shops have 10 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Join a community garden and you’ll actually meet the people you pass on the street.

4 Get in touch with the seasons

When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember that cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and pancakes just make sense–a lot more sense than flavorless cherries from the other side of the world.

5 Discover new flavours

Count the types of pear on offer at your supermarket. Maybe three? Small farms are keeping alive many heirloom varieties—but thousands of varieties have been lost around the world in our rush to sameness.

6 Explore your home

Visiting local farms is a way to be a tourist on your own home turf, with plenty
of stops for snacks.

7 Save the world

A study in Iowa, USA found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country. The ingredients for a typical British meal, sourced locally, traveled 66 times fewer “food miles.” Or we can just keep burning those fossil fuels and learn to live with global climate change, the fiercest hurricane seasons in history, wars over resources…

8 Support small farms

We discovered that many people from all walks of life dream of working the land—maybe you do too. In areas with strong local markets, the family farm is reviving. That’s a whole lot better than the jobs at big supermarkets and fast-food outlets.

9 Give back to the local economy

A British study tracked how much of the money spent at a local food business stayed in the local economy, and how many times it was reinvested.
The total value was almost twice the contribution of a dollar spent at a supermarket chain.

10 Be healthy

By eating produce sourced from your local farmers’ market or organic shop (and cooking from scratch), you’ll probably lose weight, but more importantly, though, feel better than ever. You’ll be eating more vegetables and fewer processed products, sampling a wider
variety of foods, and eating more fresh
food at its nutritional peak.

11 Create memories

A friend of ours has a theory that a night spent making jam—or in his case, dumplings—with friends will always be better a time than the latest Hollywood blockbuster. We’re convinced.

12 More fun while travelling

Once you’re addicted to local eating, you’ll want to explore it wherever you go. On a recent trip to Mexico, earth-baked corn and hot-spiced sour oranges led us away from the resorts and into the small towns. Somewhere along the line, a mute magician gave us a free show over bowls of lime soup in a little cantina.

13 And always remember:

Everything about food and cooking is a metaphor for sex.

We are definitely not spoiled for choice when it comes to farmer’s markets and organic produce shops in South Africa, but they can be found. We know of Farmer’s Markets in Bryanston JHB) and Noordhoek, Hout Bay & Rondebosch (Cape Town).

If you can help us in locating more (to be listed in our upcoming Directory of Farmer’s Markets and Organic Produce Shops), please let us know.

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