Is eating local worth the money?

Last week, I asked the question, "Are You Willing To Pay More?" People said that they were willing to pay more, but there was a limit to what they were able to pay without busting their budget. I have long thought, however, that even if you had to pay more than you thought you could, it would be worth it because of the health benefits. Thanks to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , I will soon have evidence that I believe will back up what I, and many others, have believed. You can find more details on the upcoming study after the jump.

Most of the food (produce, meat, grains, etc.) that you find at your local supermarket has been harvested, shipped, packaged, shipped, and then consumed. There are many inherent problems with that system, but one that is the most glaring is the fact that many fruits and vegetables are harvested before they are ripe. They are then allowed to ripen on a truck or in a box on their way to the store. Because of this, these foods lose a certain amount of nutrients.

The other thing about local foods is that most of them are not prepared foods that hold a lot of preservatives. Of course fresh food does require a person to cook more (most likely not a problem for readers of the Epi-Log), but it also requires a person to eat more well balanced meals.

Those are just my thoughts though. For the next two years UNC at Chapel Hill will be researching this in detail. You can read about the upcoming study at the New York Times Blog and directly from the UNC School of Public Health. Check back in two years to see if those extra dollars will actually save you money at the doctors office!


Ethan Book grew up in a small Iowa town and attended the University of Northern Iowa . Along with his wife and two young children, Ethan oversees a growing herd of registered Dexter cattle and a flock of laying hens, and is expanding his operation on a small family farm in Southern Iowa. Ethan's blog, The Beginning Farmer, helps promote small-scale farming and sustainable agriculture. Ethan is also a youth pastor and a member of the American Dexter Cattle Association and Practical Farmers of Iowa.



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