Buying local produce has so many benefits. Firstly it is much healthier. Locally grown fruit and vegetables are picked fresh and in season, which is when they have the best flavour and highest nutritional value. Fresh crops grown in Malta will go from farm to table in less than 24hrs and do not need to be treated with preservatives, as is common with crops that have to travel far from where they were grown. Also, locally produced food does not have to be transported across long distances and therefore has a small carbon footprint. By buying close to home, you support local farmers, the local economy, and the preservation of our agricultural landscape with all of its local varieties of fruit and vegetables.
Seasonal produce is full of flavour and tastes better than imported products – the latter are picked before they are ripe and need to be preserved during their travel time. Eating seasonal also means eating food that is geographically and climate appropriate. Some seasonal edibles do not even have to be bought from a producer; they are generously provided by our ecosystems and can be easily picked. There are many wild edibles that can be foraged, such as borage, wild asparagus, wild rucola, figs, dandelion, fennel, capers, prickly pears and many more plants that can supplement our diets. These generally grow in abundance, can be picked on a countryside walk and are free for us to enjoy (read foraging rules if you haven’t foraged before).
Connect & Appreciate
If we want to eat good and healthy food, we need to be in dialogue with the people producing it. Farmers deserve recognition for their hard work, the time and energy they put into growing a crop from seed, and tending to it daily to feed us all. Appreciation can be shown by initiating a conversation with a farmer, by buying directly from them, but also by being willing to pay a bit more for better quality, even if there is a cheaper option coming in from abroad. Farmers are not only producing our food but they are also guardians of our rural landscape and of our common agricultural heritage. Starting a dialogue with farmers can also help them grow food which consumers want.
Want to know more about how the Common Agricultural Policy affects people and the food we eat? Read here.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
This project is co-financed by the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisation.