5 Health Benefits of Locally-Grown Produce
Local Produce Boasts Extra Health Benefits Like Nutrient-Density and Diversity!
Accessing nutritious food is a human right and a core element of leading a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Eating a nutritious diet provides the foundation for top-tier performance, energy, and versatility, whether physically, professionally, or emotionally. However, modern urban society has fostered a system whereby most people are not fully aware of where their food comes from, and that can affect the nutrient-profile of the produce they consume. While the local food movement is often known as an environmental movement, consuming produce from local and small-scale farmers can have a significant impact on health, as well. That’s because local agriculture, such as urban farming, vertical farming, and organic farming often boast much more nutrient-dense produce than industrial-scale farming.
Keep reading below to discover the top 5 health benefits of consuming local produce:
When purchasing locally, consumers receive freshly harvested produce, which has a higher retention of vitamins and minerals as compared to conventional produce, which is often shipped from far away. That’s because approximately 24 hours after fruits and vegetables are harvested, their enzymes begin breaking down and they lose nutrients. It is therefore important to consume these foods as close to their harvest date as possible. Local produce enables one to do this much more easily than conventional and large scale agriculture, which is often trucked or shipped in from distant regions thus delaying our consumption.
When food travels from far, it is often harvested before it is fully ripened so that it can make it to the supermarket without spoiling. However, crops that are given the opportunity to ripen while still attached to the plant have a higher nutrient profile than those that are harvested early. By purchasing from urban farms, such as rooftop farms, vertical farms, and other local sources, produce is much more likely to be vine-ripened and therefore more nutritious.
Local and small-scale farms often have a more diverse supply of produce than larger industrial options. When shopping at a farmer’s market, for example, you will typically find new varieties of your favorite vegetables, such as golden beets, purple carrots, and orbit cauliflower, which hold different nutrient profiles than the typical cash crops found at the supermarket. This diversifies your meals adding a rich supply of vitamins and minerals that wouldn’t typically decorate your dinner table.
- Less chemical pesticides
Local produce is often grown on small and medium-size farms that use less chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Large industrial farms use excessive quantities of chemicals that are often sprayed aerially on an entire field with less consideration to the specific needs of each crop. As an alternative, Vertical Field’s urban farm uses no chemical pesticides or fertilizers, and instead utilizes controlled environment agriculture, which includes an indoor unit that prevents pests as well as monitors and sensors to track crops, thus providing them with the proper quantities of healthy and natural resources that they need to flourish.
- Healthy soil
Local farms tend to use alternative agricultural methods, such as organic farming, biointensive farming, and regenerative agriculture, all methods that ensure crops (and the natural world around them) receive the best, most natural, and healthiest resources possible. Produce grown in such conditions are often healthier and more sustainable than large-scale commercial crops, specifically because their soil has a diverse array of crucial microorganisms. Humans have evolved alongside microbes in soil, and consuming these microbes can vastly benefit our immune system, hormone function, and regulate our emotions. Research has even suggested that healthy microbes can slow the growth of human cancer cells.
Healthier, fresher, and often tastier, there are so many reasons to opt for local options of all your favorite fruits and veggies.