S = Seasonal Shopping
Yum, it’s springtime! Do your kids know what’s in season?
They do if your family tries to source it’s food locally. You may be surprised to learn just how far most of our country’s food has traveled before it ends up in grocery stores, restaurants or on your plate. If your food was a globetrotting traveler, that might be impressive, but when food travels a long distance it means we’re using valuable resources for transportation and possibly putting a strain on other local food sources. Worse, food loses nutrients as it gets weary from its travels. The good news is, there is enough food in your own area to feed your family well. What’s even better is that by eating locally, you’ll eat food as it’s in season. That means you’ll be eating in a way that fits your bodies’ needs better and your family will gain a better understanding of the seasons. Fresh summer peppers and tomatoes, fresh from the garden? Crisp apples in fall? Tender bits of spinach just as winter? Foods taste better in season.
Most of the food Americans eat travels over 1,500 miles before consumption.
- Shop your local farmer’s market. The best place to find local produce is almost always your local farmer’s market. However, you should always ask where the food came from before purchasing or find out about the individual market’s policy for farmer participation. Some market’s will allow farmers from farther away than others.
- Join a Community Supported Agriculture. CSAs are like a farming co-op that delivers to its members whatever fruits and vegetables are harvested each week. This is a great way to support sustainable farming and learn about what foods naturally grow in your area each season.
- Change your meal plan to reflect the season. Just because an ingredient is available in the grocery store doesn’t mean it’s actually in season in your region. Learn about your area’s natural growing seasons and plan your family’s menu to reflect the changes. This keeps your menu fresh and helps keep everyone aware of where they’re food is coming from.
- Freeze and can to prepare for winter months. If you live in a place like California, you can enjoy a variety of fresh, in-season foods all year. But a place like New York will offer considerably less options during the winter months. Prepare for these lean months by freezing or canning your favorite fruits and vegetables so you can eat well all year without requiring a jet to bring you dinner.