Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology collected data from a myriad of sources to help them analyze the obesity problem and its causes. They concluded that the large-scale food system of today has resulted in a glut of readily-available, highly-processed foods that are rich in refined flours, sugars, and fats, and devoid of necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.Well, I knew that! But what excited me the most is that the MIT researchers also concluded that Local Food is the answer.
Fresh produce, meats, and other whole foods often travel long distances from farm to market, often coming from other continents. When processing is involved, food travels even further as commodities are shipped in from around the globe, processed, shipped out to distribution centers, and distributed to local retailers. The total distance a single processed item's ingredients have traveled is mind-boggling.
The MIT team is advocating for integrated, regional foodsheds that they believe would make healthier fare more readily available. One idea includes encouraging the conversion of urban and suburban yards and lawns into small-scale farms. Lawn maintenance actually costs more than maintaining a small garden plot, making the idea highly plausible.Local Food is the answer to so many of our food security issues and provides better nutrition, taste, and biodiversity as well as a smaller carbon footprint for you and the farmer/seller promising better air quality, less pollution, and minimal environmental impact.
My favorite local food, of course, is food grown in my own yard. How about you?