The Unsung Hero of Local Food
Jeff Gangemi Jun 21, 2012 News 0 comments
A fascinating piece in the New York Times Opinion section sheds some light on one of the best reasons to eat local. Sure, farmers' markets are great for finding fresh produce and supporting your local food economy (and they're growing in numbers). But they’re more than that, argues Jeff D. Leach. Local farm-fresh food also provides Americans with an increasingly rare opportunity: to buy and ingest food that isn’t the “too-shiny produce and triple-washed and bagged leafy greens in our local grocery aisle.”
But this piece could easily be misinterpreted by the hand sanitizer-toting public. Leach is not promoting any activity that would result in more food-borne illness, but rather a subtle return of some organisms from our natural world that “would help avoid an overreaction of an otherwise healthy immune response that results in such chronic diseases as Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and a host of allergic disorders.”
It’s hard to say if Leach’s solution of just shopping more at farmers’ markets would be effective. But it’s an interesting – and not often considered – side benefit of eating locally.
To find farmers’ markets near you, just enter your zip code in FarmPlate’s search bar above to find one near you.
Read on for more:
“Over 7,000 strong and growing, community farmers’ markets are being heralded as a panacea for what ails our sick nation. The smell of fresh, earthy goodness is the reason environmentalists approve of them, locavores can’t live without them, and the first lady has hitched her vegetable cart crusade to them. As health-giving as those bundles of mouthwatering leafy greens and crates of plump tomatoes are, the greatest social contribution of the farmers’ market may be its role as a delivery vehicle for putting dirt back into the American diet and in the process, reacquainting the human immune system with some ‘old friends…’”
Photo courtesy of Common Hands Farm