With rise in international trade and commerce, a number of imported fruits, vegetables and other food items have become easily available. Some farmers have even started growing international food items at local farmlands. While such developments have definitely increased the variety of foods available to us, sometimes it makes us wonder if we should eat local food or global as well.
There may be no harm in eating global foods, as we get to experience something new and may be introduce some additional nutrition to our diet. However, many experts feel that local foods may be the more appropriate for us. There are several reasons for this, some of which are described below.
Fresh and flavorful – Local food is apparently fresher and more flavorful, as shipment time from farm to local retail store is usually less than 24 hours. Subsequently, the food you cook is naturally tastier. It will also help in digestion, as tasty food is known to trigger the release of digestive juices. In case of imported food items, they may take several days to reach your nearest retail store.
More nutritious – After harvest, most fruits and vegetables start losing their nutritive value. As local food reaches you faster, you get more nutrients per plate. Imported foods may have to pass through several days of cold storage, which is likely to reduce nutrition and flavor as well.
Better suited to local weather – Food items that are native to a specific region will be more favorable to us in terms of helping us cope up with local weather conditions. Local foods grow in a specific season and have special nutrients that might be useful to us in those months. One good example is watermelon, which is loaded with various minerals, as needed during summer months. On the same lines, food items such as apples and strawberries power us through winter months.
Chemical additives – As local foods reach consumers faster, there’s no need to use things like preservatives to extend the shelf life. In comparison, imported foods may involve the use of preservatives to extend their shelf life. It is also difficult to determine what types of fertilizers and pesticides were used on imported food items.
Global food grown locally – There are quite a few international fruits, vegetables and food items that are now being produced locally. There’s no harm in trying these, but question arises about their nutritive content. Plants and trees best perform in their native region and may not provide the same level of nutrition when grown outside.
Less chance of contamination – Due to their longer shipping period, imported food items are more susceptible to contamination. It could get contaminated by microorganisms, pests or even chemical contamination. Imported foods pass through various stages of loading / unloading and various containers, which increases the risk of contamination.
Other benefits with eating local foods are that you support the local economy. It includes the farmers, traders and everyone else contributing to the food supply. By eating local foods, you will also be helping the environment. Carbon footprint of local foods is way less than imported food items.