Scrolling Headlines:

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

Quiet beauty roars in ‘Lion’ -

February 23, 2017

‘Hidden Figures’ is warm and brilliantly inspirational -

February 23, 2017

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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