You’ve always been told that fruits and vegetables are an important part of your diet, which is true. However, it’s beneficial to take it one step further and specify the importance of fresh and local produce. These may seem like slight distinctions, but their benefits are not slight in the least. Here’s why fresh, local produce is so important:
- Good for Your Body - Local produce is fresher because it doesn’t have to travel as far before it is consumed and can be picked at its peak ripeness. Once plants are picked, the important nutrients they contain, like Vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as Calcium, Fiber, and Potassium, begin to deteriorate. Furthermore, during transportation produce can also be exposed to air, different temperatures, and artificial lighting, all of which can impact the nutritional value of the plants. This means that local, fresh produce is more nutritious than produce grown in other parts of the country and, therefore, better for your body.
- Good for the Environment - Another reason fresh produce is important is that it is good for the environment. Many local farmers grow their food without hormones or pesticides, making sure the environment stays clean and safe from pollutants. The success of local farms is also important for the environment because they help protect the land they occupy, which is also full of other plants and wildlife. If the farms were failing, the land would most likely be sold to developers who would build on the land, eliminating the natural habitat many species rely on.
- Good for the Community - Fresh produce also provides jobs on farms in your local area, which boosts the local economy. The farmers also need to sell their crops at places like farmer’s markets, which help to support other local businesses as well. Farming fresh, local produce also helps provide food for those in need as farmers often donate some of their produce to local food banks and other organizations feeding the hungry.
At Healthy Harvest Food Bank, we operate as a local farm to food bank to help solve hunger in Virginia. We provide hope in the communities we serve through the right food and education as part of our core programs. This includes fresh and local produce from local farms. Volunteerism is vital to our success as we rely on donations and volunteers to continue our crucial work providing food to almost 9,000 people a month. From June-December, we’ll need even more help from volunteers with our gleaning and harvesting efforts. Find out how you can get involved and help feed those in need today!