Scrolling Headlines:

UMass Votes Coalition hosts voter registration event -

September 28, 2016

Brettell presents on U.S. immigration policies -

September 28, 2016

UMass field hockey team seeks revenge against undefeated UConn -

September 28, 2016

UMass running back Marquis Young looks to build off momentum gained against Mississippi State -

September 28, 2016

UMass hockey announces captains for 2016-17 season -

September 28, 2016

Andy Isabella finds his niche within the UMass football offense -

September 28, 2016

The EpiPen Crisis: How did this happen? -

September 28, 2016

Cymbals Eat Guitars evolve and impress on “Pretty Years” -

September 28, 2016

Artifex Pereo’s “Passengers” is an otherworldly, haunting ride -

September 28, 2016

Bastille perfectly encapsulates the “Wild World” we live in -

September 28, 2016

Candlelight vigil held to mourn deaths of victims of police violence -

September 27, 2016

UMass hosts William A. Douglass for lecture and chair in Basque cultural studies -

September 27, 2016

Amherst Select Board imposes fines on those who violate water usage ban -

September 27, 2016

UMass tennis opens season on high note with performance at Brown Invitational -

September 27, 2016

UMass women’s soccer using long break to prepare for Atlantic 10 play -

September 27, 2016

Notebook: Ford ‘takes step forward,’ Williams appears on SportsCenter -

September 27, 2016

UMass cross country and track and field coach Ken O’Brien hits half century mark with program -

September 27, 2016

A-10 soccer notebook: Duquesne shuts out Robert Morris 1-0 to win fourth straight -

September 27, 2016

The blue light situation: When is enough, enough? -

September 27, 2016

Survivor; awesome yet evil -

September 27, 2016

Eat your way to a greener you

(Courtesy flickr.com/nataliamaynor)

The local food movement is on the rise in the food industry, but chefs aren’t the only ones able to take advantage of fresh, organic food anymore. These days, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, and even large grocery store chains are providing the public with the quality ingredients they crave.

The great thing about buying locally-grown products is that it supports both the local economy and the environment as a whole. By buying fresh produce; eggs, cheeses, and even meats from local farmers, you’re often able to cut out the middleman completely. So instead of shopping at a store that orders crates full of produce and has them shipped from California, you’re getting your food from the source itself. Buying directly from farmers cuts down on harmful emissions that would be produced by trucks, boats and planes in order to deliver the ingredients from other parts of the country and the world.

CSA shares are a fantastic way to get in on the local food movement and to really explore the bounty that your area has to offer food-wise. For the last 20 years, CSA shares have helped form relationships between farmers and their neighbors. If you sign up for a share, you’ll pay a set fee in order to receive a weekly box of super fresh produce throughout the farming season. The cost is usually comparable to what you’d spend weekly on produce at a regular store and can often even be cheaper. Typically, the boxes are reused every week, cutting down on waste from conventional shopping bags, as well as reducing emissions that would result from driving to the grocery store on a weekly basis.

Another advantage to buying locally grown products is the organic factor. If you’re able to find a farm around you that grows natural, organic foods free of pesticides and chemicals, you’re essentially helping the environment two-fold. Buying local and organic combines the benefits of reduced emissions with those of chemical-free growing practices. When a farm refrains from using pesticides and chemicals, it helps both you and the environment. Eating organic produce ensures that you are putting only the best things into your body, free of substances for which nature didn’t intend. On a larger scale, it also keeps pesticides and chemicals out of groundwater, which could eventually feed into tributaries, rivers and then oceans. It may seem like a small detail, but the difference between organic and non-organic can make a big difference.

Vibrantly-colored fruits and vegetables have a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are great for our health, and buying locally grown food provides you with the advantage of enjoying colorful ingredients that are often picked that very same day. The less time fruits and vegetables spend on the shelf, the better, because over time, the beneficial vitamins and minerals begin to diminish, making the “healthy foods” you’re eating not as healthy as you may have thought. Buying local equals buying fresh, and nothing tastes better than an ingredient enjoyed immediately after it’s picked or pulled from the earth.

So this Earth Day, do some research on your town’s local food movement. Find out when farmers’ markets open up for the season and look into various options for CSA shares. Start reaping the benefits of your local food scene and help the environment all at the same time. Because one thing’s for sure, eating local will never leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Alex Tillotson can be reached at atillots@student.umass.edu.

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