4 Reasons to Buy Local Foods

I love  bringing Mother Nature’s bounty into my kitchen — seasonal, fresh, locally grown.

Buying and eating local food is a daily choice for your health. To become more aware of the food you put in your body. To take climate change action. To support food and growers near you.  An opportunity to help preserve farmland and green spaces. A way to connect with the earth.

Local produce is picked within 24 – 48 hours.

Why does it matter?

Better for Your Health

Locally grown crops are harvested at their peak. Produce arrives at the market within 48 hours of picking; this brings you giving the freshest produce from farm to table. Eating local means:

  • More variety! This means more antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals for better health. Local farmers are more likely to choose varieties for flavor rather than yield. Large agricultural businesses that grow produce for distribution across the country choose varieties for high yield, fast growth rate, and ability to withstand long distance transport
  • More nutrient dense because they ripen naturally. Produce that travels long distances is picked before it’s ripe
  • More flavor!
[su_expanding_quote_web source_site=”Hānai‘Ai/The Food Provider” source_url=”” target=”_blank” full_quote=”Handling, processing, and transportation also play a key role in the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables. Careless handling, mechanical harvesting methods, storage at improper temperatures, and lengthy or rough transport can all reduce the quality and nutritional value of fresh produce. It is less likely locally grown fruits and vegetables will suffer nutrient losses from exposure to these conditions, but improper storage and handling can still reduce the nutritional quality of produce. Learning about the harvesting methods and handling procedures of the farmers in your area can help you to choose the highest quality produce for your family.” short_quote=”Handling, processing, and transportation also play a key role in the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables.”]
  • No ethylene gas, which is added to fruits imported out of season to artificially ripen.
  • Contains less (or no) pesticides. Farmers have to pay an extra fee to become certified organic; some small-scale farmers use organic methods but aren’t certified because they simply cannot afford the certification fees. Even if they aren’t organic, small farmers tend to use fewer chemicals than large, industrialized farms.
[su_expanding_quote_web source_site=”Food Revolution Network” source_url=”” target=”_blank” full_quote=”Small, local farms offer more variety. Our industrial agricultural system uses a mono-crop system. But smaller, organic farmers may grow a variety of organic and heirloom produce, which you might not find at the supermarket.” short_quote=”Small, local farms offer more variety.”]

Better for the Environment

  • Eating more local food reduces carbon emissions by reducing food miles (distance food travels from farm to consumer).
  • Buying local food helps preserve farmland and green space from development. When local farmers are well compensated for their products, they’re less likely to sell their land to developers.
  • Farms also provide a habitat for wildlife and maintain the ecosystem.
  • Helps more farmers switch to  sustainable practices. The more you shop at local markets, the more these local farmers will thrive and grow.

Supports the Local Economy

  • Money spent locally stays local. It helps local producers and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community. This helps grow your local economy instead of giving earnings to a corporation in another city/state/country.
  • Local food moves through fewer hands.  The money you spend goes to people growing those foods.
[su_expanding_quote_web source_site=”Civil Eats” source_url=”” target=”_blank” full_quote=”Eating Local ” full_quote=”When we eat local, we create the conditions under which people are able to live the lives they love. Statistics about the way dollars spent locally stay within a community fail to illuminate what this looks like for individual entrepreneurs and farmers, freelancers and artists, those with the itch to make beautiful things, those deeply invested in living lives wedded to the land.” short_quote=”When we eat local, we create the conditions under which people are able to live the lives they love”]

Creates Community and Connection

Shopping at a local farmer’s market  connects you to where your food comes from.

Through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) you can purchase seasonal produce directly from local farmers. A CSA-participating farm offer a number of “shares”. Generally you pay up-front. This helps pay for seeds and plants, greenhouse expenses, equipment, labor, and other costs related to the workings of the farm. The farm grows food for participating members. CSA members receive a weekly or biweekly share of the farm’s harvest. It’s a win-win. Community members become shareholders in the farm and the farm has a steady supply of revenues it can count on.

Did you know CSA’s began in Japan in the mid-1960s and 1970s, in response to consumer concern about the increasing use of pesticides in industrial farming?

I enjoy receiving farm fresh, seasonal vegetables every week from Central City Co-op! Find a local market here

For More Empowerment

7 Benefits of eating Local Foods

Why Buy Local Food? It’s Healthier for You and Better for the Environment


  1. Nestle, Mario. (2006). What to eat. New York, NY: North Point Press.
  2. Hyman, Mark. (2020. Food Fix: How to save our planet, our economy, our communities, and our planet – one bite at a time. New York, NY: Little Brown Spark, Hatchette Book Group.

Updated from February 2018 post 

Organic or Not?

One the most frequent questions I get is, does organic produce make a difference?

The short answer is yes. Choosing organic produce is not only better for our health, it’s also better for farm workers and for the environment.

Conventional produce is grown with pesticides. These chemicals kill anything that wants to destroy food while it’s growing. Pesticides improve crop yield, increasing the quantity of fruits and vegetables. Pesticides also leak into the soil and water. People who eat organic foods have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies. Growing evidence indicates that pesticides cause health problems.  Different pesticides are associated with a variety of toxic effects.

  • Nervous system
  • Hormone system
  • Carcinogenic
  • Skin, eye, and lung irritation

Children are especially vulnerable. Pesticides pose a risk to vital organ systems that continue to grow and mature from conception throughout infancy and childhood. Exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals during critical periods of development can have lasting adverse effects both in early development and later in life. A particular issue to me is that pesticides are associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s.

[su_expanding_quote_without_link alignment=”full” source=”Stephanie Sacks, What the Fork are You Eating” full_quote=”Depending on doses, some pesticides can cause adverse effects on human health including cancer, acute and chronic injury to the nervous system, lung damage, reproductive dysfunction, and possible dysfunction to the endocrine and immune system. Low-dose, long-term exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in pesticides have adverse effects on overall human health “including links to infertility, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer.” short_quote=”Some pesticides can cause adverse effects on human health including cancer, injury to the nervous system, reproductive dysfunction, and possible dysfunction to the immune system.”]

Pesticides are harmful to farm workers. All health risks associated with ingesting pesticides in food are compounded by inhaling and constantly being exposed externally to pesticides.

[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”full” source_site=”Civil Eats” source_url=”” full_quote=”There are an estimated 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides applied to crops annually in the United States, and thousands of farmworkers each year experience pesticide poisoning. It is well-documented that a significant number of the nation’s estimated 1–2 million farmworkers and their families are exposed to toxic pesticides. These exposures result in serious short and long-term health impacts, including stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, nausea, headaches and even death. Long-term impacts include delayed and include infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer.” short_quote=”1–2 million farmworkers and their families are exposed to toxic pesticides resulting in serious short and long-term health impacts”]

Pesticides are destructive to “non-target” wildlife like honeybees and butterflies.  Applied through mechanical sprayers, pesticides get absorbed into the soil, run off into our water and damage the environment.

[su_expanding_quote_without_link alignment=”full” source=”Joel Fuhrman, Super Immunity, The Essential Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger and Disease Free” full_quote=”The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causes. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach and prostate.” short_quote=”The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causes”]

The longer answer on choosing organic is cost. Organic produce IS more expensive. But in the long-term, it’s an investment in better health and quality of life. This means less money on doctors and medicines. That said, it’s not possible to buy all organic. The key is to learn which foods have LOTS of pesticides and which aren’t so bad. I prioritize using the EWG: Dirty Dozen Guide and shop those organic or we consume less of them if they’re not organic. And I buy conventional EWG: Clean 15.

CAVEAT: It’s important to minimize exposure to pesticides, but regularly eating fruits and vegetables (even with pesticides) is more important not eating them at all. Less than one-third of adults in the US gets the recommended amount, the rates are even lower for teens. Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits is one of the healthiest choices we can make. They are loaded with nutrients beneficial to our health:

  • fiber
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • phytochemicals (natural chemical compounds in plants)

It’s the mix of those nutrients that’s most helpful and protective. And we get that mix by eating a variety of plant foods.

I believe that as more people buy organic, increased demand will help bring down the costs of organic produce and also make organic food more available and accessible.

What To Do?

  • Use the EWG: Dirty Dozen Guide and EWG: Clean 15
  • Buy local as much as possible for freshness, taste and nutritional value. Even if it’s not organic, local farmers are much more in tune with the crops, and the produce will be fresher than transported for long distances. By making the choice to buy local we local farmers.
  • Use Community Supported Agriculture . Basically, a farmer offers “shares” of freshly  harvested vegetables, and we pick up a weekly box of seasonal produce throughout the farming season
  • If using conventional produce, peel fruits/ vegetables on the “dirty” list and discard outermost leaves of lettuce and cabbage
  • Always wash produce whether organic or not

Organic Foods on a Limited Budget

6 Ways to Eat Organic on a Budget

Originally published April 2017

Macronutrients for Health’s Sake!

Macronutrients are the nutrients we need in big (“macro”) quantities: carbs, fats, and protein. Each of these play a number of vital roles in constructing and fueling our bodies.

For optimal health, we need balanced diet of high-quality carbs, fats and protein. Intake will vary based on various factors such as activity level, stress levels, ancestry, genetics, digestive health, age, etc. The basic range needed to fuel function, support metabolic flexibility and ensure satiety is:

  • Carbohydrate 30 – 40%
  • Fat 30 – 40%
  • Protein 20 – 50%

Carbs: Are found predominantly in vegetables, fruits, tubers, legumes, grains and sweeteners. Aim for getting most of your carbs from brightly colored vegetables. Carbs are a:

  • Quick source of fuel for the brain and muscles
  • In the form of fiber, they provide fuel for our microbiome and ensure regular elimination of waste
  • Combined with fat and protein, carbs help us fight infections, grow new body tissue (bones and skin) and lubricate our joints

Fats: Are vital building block and source of energy in the body. Fats:

  • Absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
  • Regulate the speed we digest food, build cell membranes and certain hormones
  • Maintain optimal cognitive function
  • Protective lining for the organs
  • Important source of high-caloric energy ideal for long, low-intensity activity
  • Improves taste and increase satiety

Proteins: Have many vital roles myriad of roles in the body. Proteins provide building blocks for:

  • Tissues such as organs, nerves, muscles
  • Enzymes: specialized protein molecules that are the managers and catalysts for all biochemical processes
  • Antibodies: protein structures that help fight infection and destroy foreign invaders
  • Hemoglobin: special protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body
  • Insulin and glucagon: hormones released to help regulate blood sugar and energy levels

There are some healthy plant proteins, but high-quality, humanely raised protein from animal sources is much more bioavailable and includes all 9 essential amino acids necessary for health.

What To Do?

  1. Eat real food
  2. Track your macronutrients to determine current rations: Use an app such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer.
  3. Keep a Food and Mood Journal and jot down what you eat and how you feel 1 – 3 hours are each meal
  4. Use the following criteria to help determine appropriate bio-individual rations.
Right Macronutrient Ratio Wrong Macronutrient Ration
Appetite, Satisfaction, Craving You feel full and satisfied

You don’t crave something sweet

You don’t desire more food

You don’t get hungry soon after eating

You don’t need to snack before next meal


You feel full, but are still hungry

You desire something sweet

Feel like something was missing

Feel hungry soon after eating

Need to snack

Energy Level Energy is restored after eating Feel hungry soon after eating
Have long lasting sense of wellbeing after your last meal Low energy, fatigue, exhaustion


Hyper, jittery, anxious after your meal

Feel hyper but exhausted underneath

Mental/emotional wellbeing Feel re-fueled or restored

Uplift in emotions

Improved clarity of mind

Normalization of thought processes


Mentally slow, sluggish, spacey

Unable to think clearly and quickly

Unable to focus

Depression or sadness

Hyper-anxious, obsessive behavior

Anger or irritability


Food Sourcing:

  • Think variety: eat a diverse range of plants and animals. Aim for 5 different colors on your plate each meal
  • Think locally: this supports local farmers, reduces emissions and reduces the risk of contamination
  • Think seasonally: foods that are in season where you live to get a wider diversity of nutrients and help prevent food sensitivities
  • Think quality: If economically and geographically feasible, aim for the highest quality plant and animal foods possible. Animal foods best sourced from 100% grass-fed, grass-finished animals or pasture raised poultry. Seafood sustainable, wild-caught is best. For guidance on produce, use EWG Dirty Dozen , EWG Clean 15

For More Empowerment

Make a Difference: 4 Reasons to Buy Local Foods

To Eat or Not to Eat Beef