Eating seasonally is a great idea for your health, your wallet, the local economy, and the environment. It may not seem like much to you because you can not see any tangible evidence, but by eating seasonally you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and impact on the environment. This might seem like a simple thing to do, but most individuals are not familiar with what is even in season in the nearby region, nor what to do once winter arrives. Something, somewhere will be growing and ready to harvest, and purchasing produce from small farms in neighboring regions is the smartest option.
Seasonal produce includes anything that naturally grows in a specific region during its natural growing season. If you are living in warmer climates, it is a lot easier to eat seasonally and locally year round because the warmer climate allows for a long growing season with a huge variety of foods. The consumption of seasonal produce allows you to reduce your carbon footprint because it requires less energy and resources to both grow, care for, and bring the food to market. In this way you can shop responsibly, in a way that is both healthy and socially responsible.
Food that has to be shipped long distances requires a lot of energy consumption which will make its way into the environment with harmful side effects. The reduction of this demand leads to more farmers, markets, and purchasers working to fill the demand within their area. By supporting these local growers you are able to easily reduce your carbon footprint. The side perk is that more local, small family owned farms are able to survive and grow, possibly being able to increase their harvest and types of produce.
Learning about those foods that grow in your region naturally is the biggest and most important step in learning how to reduce your carbon footprint on your own. Even in the coldest and most tropical climates, there are going to be plants producing the foods and nutrients that you need to consume. Most people mistakenly believe that only exotic plants can be introduced to an area when the normal growing season is over, but cold weather produce such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, salad greens, and onions are just a few of the very versatile plants that can be used as a side crop and sold in cold winter markets.
Deciding to make the change and try to reduce your carbon footprint in any way is a conscious and purposeful decision that only you can make for yourself. Wanting to stay local is a smart way to change your life, improve your health, and contribute to the improvement of the economy and the environment. You might just find out that you like a lot more fruits and vegetables than you had considered in the past, or even knew existed. It’s worth the time and energy it takes to research local farms and markets, and then learn how to use and cook them.