The local foods movement is everywhere, and it’s gathering momentum. I’ve put together a layman’s guide to the benefits of eating locally grown foods.

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Why eat local foods?

1. Healthy choices: Local foods are more likely to be whole, unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables. Whole foods are better for your body than foods that have been processed and had things added to them.

2. Freshness: Fruits and vegetables are healthiest when they have just been picked. Farmers who sell to local people often pick their fruits and vegetables right before they sell them, when they are freshest and taste best.

3. Taste: Farmers who sell fruits and vegetables locally can choose to grow varieties with the best taste, instead of the varieties that will ship well in a truck or last the longest on a grocery store shelf.

4. Control your food: When you buy from local farmers you can ask how the food was grown and choose based on whether or not they used practices that you agree with, like using certain fertilizers and pesticides.

5. Eating in season: Buying locally means eating with the seasons and understanding that the foods grown in your area are available at different times of the year. Buying foods when they are in season and plentiful also means that you will pay the best price, instead of paying for them when they’re out of season and have to be shipped from far away.

6. Cooking ideas: When you buy from a local farmer, you can ask them questions about how to prepare the food. They can give you good ideas on how to cook the food in a way that you and your family will love.

7. Support your community: Buying from a local farmer is like buying from a neighbor. It keeps money and jobs in your community.

8. Protect family farms: Small family farms are closing down all across the country. Buying local foods gives strength to farming as a business and protects farm land from being developed. Without farms, many of us would be hungry.

9. Strengthen the nation: Buying foods locally means we are less dependent on foods grown in other countries and fuels for transportation

10. Help your child understand where their food comes from: Bringing your child to a farm or farmer’s market gives them a chance to meet farmers and ask about farming and how food grows. These experiences can help your child make healthy choices.

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