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 

Halloween Witches Dinner

The “witches” twice-baked potatoes give this fall dinner a Halloween twist. Served with Roasted Pork Tenderloin, a delicious colorful medley of roasted vegetables and a spinach, pear and pumpkin seed salad, it’s one of my favorite fall menus. The kids make their own chocolate “spider” or “bat” cookies for dessert.

Color My Salad

What comes to mind when you think of salad? For years I assumed a salad was lettuce perhaps with tomatoes or carrots. Or maybe a Caesar salad or coleslaw slathered in mayonnaise.

But loving color in my food and learning about Nutrient Dense Foods it’s been huge fun overturning my preconceived notions of salad. Salads can be flavorful, colorful, and wildly nutritious. Salads create possibilities limited only by our creativity.

I now toss all kinds of marvelous concoctions in my salad bowl. Salads are full of heart-healthy, cancer fighting, cell-building ingredients. Eating salads regularly is one of the best ways to stay healthy. The variety and colors of salads bring an abundant array of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, minerals and phytochemicals into every bite. Fiber reduces bad cholesterol, helps control blood sugar, and helps digestive health. Lowering cholesterol and preventing constipation can in turn prevent chronic and life-threatening diseases.

Eating seasonally means summertime is a true feast for our tables and palates. Summer brings a lovely abundance of vegetables and fruits into my kitchen creating marvelous possibilities for fresh, vibrant and ah yes, colorful salads! Cool and crunchy, with various textures and flavors, summer salads are fun to eat.

Local, seasonal foods simply have more flavors. Picked when they are sun-ripe makes produce crispy, juicy, luscious and tasty! Local, seasonal produce also has more nutrients that strengthen our immune system and ward of viruses and disease. Building a lifestyle around seasonal foods not only enhances the flavor and diversity of my food, it also connects me with nature.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Joel Fuhrman MD” source_title=”Eat to Live” full_quote=”Raw uncooked vegetables and fruits offer the most powerful protection against disease, and I encourage my patients to eat huge salads and at least four fresh fruits per day. As the amount of raw fruits and vegetables are increased in a person’s diet, weight loss and blood pressure are lowered. Raw foods contain enzymes that offer significant nutritional advantages to protect against disease. Consuming a significant quantity of raw foods is essential for superior health” short_quote=”Raw uncooked vegetables and fruits offer the most powerful protection against disease”]

In this post I focus only on leafy green-based salads. There are whole worlds to roam with coleslaws, or bean salads or grain salads; we’ll talk about those another day.

Mighty greens pack a powerful punch of nutrients just on their own. Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables have more micronutrients than any other food.

[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”right” source_site=”LiveStrong” source_url=”” full_quote=”Your chosen leafy greens do more than just lay a foundation for your remaining mix-ins. In fact, leafy greens pack a powerful punch of nutrients all on their own. Although each type of leafy green offers different health benefits, they’re packed with fiber and low in calories. Fiber also improves the health of your digestive system. Dark green lettuce, kale and spinach are packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, while bok choy and mustard greens also provide many of the B vitamins. This combination of vitamins supports the immune system, protects bones and keeps the cardiovascular system healthy. ” short_quote=”This combination of vitamins supports the immune system, protects bones and keeps the cardiovascular system healthy.”]

My general guidelines

  • Use leafy greens as the foundation: arugula, spinach, baby kale, mixed greens or romaine. Leafy greens I use organic as much as possible. Conventional spinach is high on the Dirty Dozen list because of the amount of pesticide residue
  • Add something soft: avocado, mango, peach, berries
  • Add green onions or red onions and usually garlic in the salad dressing
  • Add nuts or seeds

To make a meal out of my salad, I add leftover fish or meat (chicken, thinly sliced pork tenderloin, sliced steak. And/or leftover grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley etc) and beans (lentil, garbanzo, black, white – either leftovers or canned).

Salad dressing is always homemade. Store-bought salad dressings, even expensive fancy ones from organic stores, have more additives than necessary including sugar.

Making salad dressing is quick and easy. 

I was going to say here are some of my favorite salads, but truth be told, my favorite salads are too many to list as they are composed with whatever happens to be fresh that week. But here is a start.

Rainbow Salad, more than a recipe, this is a concept. Starting with a base of leafy greens, I make a “rainbow” of color: strawberries, blueberries, carrots, almonds, raspberry, cucumber. Or carrots, red cabbage, mango, pumpkin seeds, celery. With some creativity of ingredients, any color (and flavor) combination is possible.

Spinach, Mango, Purple Cabbage

Arugula Peach Salad

Watermelon Arugula Salad with Feta

Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad

Epicurious: Mixed Greens with Feta, Almond and Blueberries


What are your favorite salads?


For more empowerment

9 Good Reasons to Eat Salad Every Day

Dr. Axe: Eating Seasonally for Better Nutrition and a Better World

10 Reasons to Eat What’s Seasonal