Why eat local? Let us count the reasons
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Which would you rather eat, an ear of corn picked this morning in Zelienople or one shipped from Chile?
2. Local food is in season.
It's summer in Pittsburgh, and the markets are bulging with local product that's better quality and less expensive than "out-of-towners."
3. Local food is healthy.
Food loses nutrient quality over time. Food that has been on the road may have been hot, cold, fumigated, shrink-wrapped and processed before it gets to a warehouse where it continues to sit.
4. Local food varieties are bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and shelf life.
Bite into one of Mildreds' Daughters' heirloom tomatoes. The case rests.
5. Local food is safe.
You know where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised. You can choose to avoid food that has been raised with additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified seed.
6. Local food preserves genetic diversity.
Foods that are grown here are ones that weren't chosen because they travel well, or ripen uniformly or survive packing, but because they grow well in our climate.
7. Local food supports local families.
You can shake hands with farmer Don Kretschmann. Or sample chard pesto from Margie Dagnal's Goose Creek Gardens and ask her for the recipe. Talk to Dave and Karen Heilman about their premium pork, raised with no antibiotics or hormones on Heilman's Hogwash Farms.
8. Buying local is good for the economy.
It increases the circulation of your food dollars locally, and the profits stay here and help sustain the community.
9. Buying local is good for the environment.
The food we eat may travel 1,500 to 3,000 miles before it gets to our plates. That's a huge waste of packing materials and a massive waste of fossil fuels, all generating substantial greenhouse gases.
10. Some local companies sell nonlocal but Fair Trade products.
Buying Fair Trade-labeled products ensures that farm workers and producers elsewhere get a decent wage and enjoy safe living and working conditions. For coffee, La Prima Espresso. For chocolate, Mon Aimee Chocolat.
First Published August 1, 2007 7:15 pm