In our slice of the pacific we enjoy a tropical climate with breathtaking natural beauty. Furthermore, what makes the Marianas Islands even more special is the access to the many products that one would only find in the mainland U.S. Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying these commodities there is quite a hefty price tag associated with it, especially for our food which is almost entirely brought in via cargo ship. This July we want to talk about the health benefits of buying and eating local which can go a long way in supporting our local island economies while bringing you closer to your health goals.
Keep the Supply Chain Short
One key factor in how locally grown foods can be way better for you is in the short distance it takes to get from the farm to your table. Foods that are harvested begin to lose their nutrients the minute they are cut from their roots. This means that the quicker it can make it to your table the more fresh, flavorful, and nutrient rich it remains. Locally grown foods, unlike imported foods, are often harvested just a day or two before being put out on the market for sale. Even further, small private farms often have different techniques to help maintain freshness like keeping fruits and veggies on the vine to prolong the ripening process. This also extends to meat and dairy products which can be butchered or harvested and sold much closer to the source meaning less opportunity for contamination and less need for processing to prolong the shelf life. This makes local food a clear winner in improving your overall health outcomes.
Mix It Up
Local farmers are far less likely to work against mother nature when it comes to growing crops, meaning that their farms grow what nature will allow during that season or time of year. A trip to your local farmer’s market is bound to be chalk full of different ingredients – some you may have never heard of or tried in your life! When it comes to altering your diet for health, keeping your food varied and mixed helps in ensuring your body is getting all the different vitamins and minerals it needs to optimize function and possibly prevent certain diseases. After all, our bodies cannot survive on meat and rice alone.
Healthy Diets, Economy & Environment
Eating local means buying local and this makes for a healthy and thriving local economy. Locally grown and sourced foods also mean less pollution and a lower carbon footprint. Especially for the Marianas Islands, our imported foods make quite a journey just to get here and that means tons of carbon emissions along the way. If you consider the fact that there is a truck or a train that takes our food from large farm operations in the mainland to the port and then cargo ships that take our food across the pacific to your local grocery store, imported foods to the islands contribute to the estimated 31% of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the global food chain according to United Nation News. In addition, imported foods require packaging and sometimes chemicals to keep them fresh to make the long journey across the globe to your dinner table. On the other hand, local produce being so close to its source means less carbon emissions and sometimes no packaging or preservative chemicals. When you also consider that money spent on local farmers means more money in your local economy, eating local is a win-win for everyone.
Know Your Food
At the end of the day when it comes to changing your diet for health, one key component is knowing what is in your food. With locally bought foods it is that much easier to track what it is you’re putting into your body. Eating local foods is just one of many practices you can start to set you in the right direction toward better health all while contributing to your local economy and doing your part to help preserve our natural environment.