Studies show that about half of all fruit sold in the USA is imported from other countries.
Buying and transporting food from other countries has many negative consequences, including:
- additional germs and bacteria on the food
- an increase in pollution into the atmosphere from transporting the food
- a negative impact on local economies
Eating out in local restaurants, and buying food from local farmers, is one way to live a healthier and environmentally sustainable lifestyle.
Here are three benefits to dining out and buying food produced in or near Rogers Park and Edgewater:
Eating food produced by nearby farmers helps the enviornment
In a large city like Chicago, it’s easy to find restaurants, like the Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park, that use foods from nearby farms.
Tom Rosenfeld, Managing Partner of The Heartland Cafe, says, “We always choose organic over local, and local organic over far away organic.”
The fewer miles it takes to get food from the farm to a restaurant, the better it is for the enviornment. Over 25% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) says. A large chunk of those emissions comes from the transportation of food.
Locally produced food has less bad stuff in it
Buying produce at one’s local farmer’s market is preferable to shopping at a chain grocery store, where food is often imported from unknown, far away places.
According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, most meals in the United States travel 1500 miles between farm and the plate.
Produce is often picked before it’s ripe, and then “processed in factories using preservatives, irradiation, and other means to keep it stable for transport and sale.”
These chemicals have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
- breathing difficulties
- behavioral changes
- Heart issues
Farmers who sell food close to their land don’t need to use as many preservatives.
Eating locally produced foods helps your neighbors
Do you really want to help Target reap more profits? Or would you rather help the people you see every day on the street?
Rosenfeld says, “Local food and local businesses are an experience that cannot be replicated online and through big box stores.”
You can make friends at a place like the Heartland. Social interactions, according to many studies, are an important part of a healthy mental state. When was the last time you struck up a conversation with someone at Walmart?