Winter is almost here, and our west Georgia farmers still have plenty of sustainably produced foods to nourish your family and warm your spirits. From homegrown collards and sweet potatoes to fresh pork sausage, their cold-weather offerings are delicious and nutritious. So even though the summery sunshine and open-air farmers’ market days are behind us, here are ten reasons to keep buying and eating local this winter.
1. Locally-grown food is fresher and better for you. Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly, so it’s best to eat it right away. Produce that is flown or trucked in from Mexico, New Zealand or even California may be a couple weeks old by the time it reaches your plate.
3. Support your local economy. Buying from local farmers and producers keeps money in your community and helps families who live nearby.
4. Industrial agriculture often focuses on crops that have been bred for higher yields and their ability to be transported, while local farmers are typically able to grow diverse varieties of plants.
5. Our bodies naturally crave seasonal crops (like hearty potatoes when it’s cold and lighter salads and cucumbers in the summer). So it makes sense to eat local food that’s in season.
6. Local foods build your sense of community. The Cotton Mill Farmers’ Market is a great place for friends to gather.
7. Farms preserve open space. Supporting local farms helps keep farmland from being converted to strip malls or subdivisions.
8. Go green. Smaller farms typically have a smaller carbon footprint (less environmental impact) than large industrial farms.
9. Smaller farms with meadows and ponds provide a diverse habitat for local wildlife.
Sources: Cotton Mill Farmers’ Market, Eatlocalnow.org, LocalHarvest.org and Sustainable Table