Summer is the height of the season for farmer's markets - the perfect time and place to buy locally grown food. There's something about fresh produce that just tastes better - somehow kale is a little spicier and strawberries are a little sweeter - and it is so reassuring to support local farmers by buying at the farmers market. But some people still don’t realize how beneficial it is to purchase produce grown on nearby farms.
There are many health and environmental benefits of eating green, and the good news is that it’s easy to do. By eating green you're not only doing your body and local economy a favor by buying locally grown food—you're also saving energy!
Buying locally means reducing fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions that result from non-locally grown food being transported from distant locations. American food travels an average of 1,500 to 2,500 miles from farm to table, according to the Worldwatch Institute. Purchasing food locally helps cut out the carbon emissions associated with that travel. And by driving less, you're saving gasoline and money too! See our tips for improving your vehicle's fuel efficiency. Eating seasonally also can help ensure that your food was grown in an open field, not a fossil-fuel powered greenhouse.
One easy way to get seasonal fruits and veggies directly from a farmer is to sign up for a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. CSA members purchase a "share" from a farmer, which consists of a box of vegetables and fruits (depending on the season and that particular farm), that is sent directly to you each week throughout the farming season. It’s pretty easy and the anticipation is kind of fun.
You can purchase fresh food with your SNAP benefits. Start using your EBT card at your local farmers' market to buy fruits and vegetables. Find the nearest market to reap those benefits.
Support National Farmer's Market Week and get excited about supporting your local economy and community, your larger environment, and also your health by buying and eating locally. It will make your fresh strawberry shortcake taste even sweeter.
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