Do you know where your food comes from? A recent study indicates that the products that make up a typical North American meal travel an average of 2,400 km before winding up on our tables.
And yet, we have the opportunity to eat locally all year long.
Yes, that’s right – it’s possible even in winter, and you can continue shopping at your regular grocery store.
The main advantage is taste: an apple that’s grown in a local orchard is fresher and has more flavour than one that has travelled a long distance.
Local fruits and vegetables are picked when they are fully mature, and as a result, they contain a higher nutritional value.
In fact, imported vegetables – which are transported long distances over many days – are picked prematurely, sometimes when they are still unripe! All of this is done so that they are presentable and attractive upon arrival.
Moreover, foods that are transported over long distances are often preserved with the help of chemicals. They even undergo physical treatments that can also block their nutritional value (ex. vitamin C, which is sensitive to temperature).
Local food is grown or raised in accordance to strict and transparent health, environmental and social standards. Certain studies have shown that imported vegetables often contain more pesticide residues than those cultivated locally.
Locally produced foods require only a fraction of the energy it takes to transport foods that are produced far away.
Therefore, by selecting a local product, you help to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution released into the atmosphere.
Buying locally boosts our economy and provides jobs for people in our cities and provinces. According to Equiterre, “if every week, each family in Quebec took $20 worth of imported goods and replaced them with Quebec products of the same value, more than 100,000 jobs could be created.”