You don’t have to grow your own produce to eat local.
With the rising popularity of the local food movement, farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs have become abundant throughout the country. Offering a wide variety of locally grown produce, these vendors provide countless opportunities to eat healthfully while boosting your local economy.
Fresh and Flavorful
In addition to boosting both your health and the local economy, seeking out locally grown produce typically ensures that you and your family eat fresher, more flavorful meals. Consider the following:
- Most U.S.-grown produce is harvested four to seven days before it reaches supermarket shelves and travels an average 1,500 miles before getting there. Buying directly from local growers reduces these times and distances dramatically.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutritional value as the time between farm and table grows.
- Since 2008, the local food movement has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing food trends.
Get Your Fill
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends men and women of different ages consume varying amounts of produce to get the nutrients they need.
Men ages 19 to 50 should aim for two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables per day. Past the age of 50, vegetable intake may be reduced to two and a half cups each day.
Women ages 19 to 30 should eat two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables each day, while women ages 31 to 50 should shoot for one and a half cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables daily. The recommended intake is slightly reduced for women older than age 50: one and a half cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables each day.
These recommendations may vary according to activity level, so talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.
To find a farmers market near you, visit the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. To locate a CSA program in your area, search the national farm databases listed on the USDA’s National Agricultural Library website.