Learn how to embrace seasonal eating as a powerful sustainable practice by choosing food that aligns with nature’s rhythm. Here’s how you can make a difference
As seen in Metro Style, May 29, 2023
When was the last time you paused to consider the journey your food takes from farm to plate? Where, when, and how did it grow? Who grew it, and how did it get here? In our fast-paced, modern society, it's easy to be disconnected from our industrial food systems. You can even have a meal without ever stepping foot in a grocery store or cooking anything!
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Fortunately, as our awareness of the environmental impact of our food choices grows, more people are choosing sustainable eating practices. The even better news is that eating in a way that’s healthy for the planet also has benefits to our health and wellbeing.
You may have heard the saying, “eat with the seasons,” and although we only have a wet and dry season, produce like fruits and veggies do actually have peak seasons. Embracing seasonal eating can be a powerful sustainable practice, even in today's world. Across the country, local farmers cultivate and harvest a wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year. By choosing foods that align with nature's rhythms, we not only support better agricultural practices, but also foster a healthier environment to live in. Plus, tastier and often cheaper produce too!
Here are a few reasons why shopping seasonally can have a big impact on both our planet and our own wellbeing.
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Fresher and more flavorful produce
Fruits and vegetables that are harvested when they are in season tend to have better flavor and texture because they are grown and ripened in their optimal conditions. This means more delicious meals and makes healthy eating way more enjoyable.
More nutritious produce
Fresher, seasonal produce is also more nutritious compared to out-of-season counterparts. This is because fruits and veggies that fully ripen on the plant instead of being ripened chemically can have more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Produce usually also starts losing nutrients right after harvesting, so eating them sooner means more nutrients. Buying local also means fewer preservatives, waxes, and packaging needed to counter nutrient loss which is healthier for us and the planet.
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Encourages eating a variety of plant foods
Different fruits and vegetables come into season throughout the year, which makes it fun to experiment with new flavors and expand your regular rotation of foods. Eating a wide variety of food is a key part of good nutrition as it means a wider and more balanced intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A diverse diet is also linked to healthier gut bacteria. Speaking of gut health, eating more plants is another healthy practice, as it likely means more fiber. Plus, plant-based diets are associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Supports local farmers and the local economy
Eating what is being produced at the moment creates demand for local farmers’ products. So when you buy from local farms, you contribute to their livelihoods and communities, helping them sustain their businesses and preserve agricultural traditions. This also means more food security, possibly cheaper prices, and maintains the cultural heritage tied to farming practices too.
More sustainable farming practices
Buying seasonally can be lower cost because it might mean fewer inputs needed like water, pesticides, fuel, and packaging. Working with the amount of rainfall and sunlight, or rotating crops to support soil health can also have a better impact on the environment. On top of that, there can be a reduced need for transporting and importing food when buying locally.
By choosing local, in-season foods, you can support local economies, reduce the use of limited natural resources, and also support your health and budget too. Learn which foods are in seasons at which times, and learn new ways to incorporate those foods into your diet to keep healthy eating fun all year long!