Key reason to eat local as Spring is here and that means summer harvest is right around the corner! Farmers markets are still abundant in the Charlotte and surrounding communities this year with added safety features during the pandemic, such as increased spacing in between vendors.

What is Local?

The term “local” is ambiguous and can refer to anywhere between a 100-mile radius, the Carolinas, or the Eastern United States. Local food can be found at direct-to-consumer farms, farmers markets, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), or can be purchased indirectly from supermarkets, farm-to-school programs, cooperatives, and restaurants.

Here are 3 reasons to eat local:

1.Support local businesses and economic growth

Purchasing local food always helped keep money in the community and assist in creating local jobs. In theory, money spent on local food will be put back into the supply chain as vendors spend money on equipment, production, and distribution of local food.

2.Know your farmer, and know your food

Direct-to-consumer models allow buyers to go directly to farmers with questions about how the food was grown, transported, and preserved. When tabling for TNT at a farmer’s market in northern Charlotte, I discovered that some vendors followed organic or ultra-organic processes even though they were not USDA Organic certified; they simply didn’t want to pay for the label. 

3. Potential for a healthier diet

Many of my clients want to go plant-based, and that starts with having more fruits and vegetables in the house! Research shows that CSA memberships are associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption. Eating more fruits and vegetables is not only a healthy way to get your fiber and vitamins in, it also replaces processed food in the diet.

Not sure how to use your local produce? Visit the TNT Healthy Recipes page for inspiration, like this Mediterranean Kale Salad.

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