Today, let’s examine if there are advantages of buying local produce and eating local food.
Given the choice for a meal outside, many of us will opt for some form of western or eastern food, or fusion food which has become rather popular.
There is nothing wrong in enjoying different foods, but wouldn’t it be healthier if it is cooked with fresh produce obtained locally, rather than imported frozen food which has been sitting for an unknown period on the supermarket shelves? Unless the imported frozen food is stored in proper conditions, you could be at risk eating contaminated food.
It was reported in a leading newspaper in early July that Chinese authorities found coronavirus on the packaging and inside the container of imported frozen shrimp, and its surroundings. However, at that point in time, the Chinese food safety chief said the discovery did not mean the virus could be transmitted via food packaging. More research on this subject is ongoing.
Good local food is considered comfort food for the local people. Our bodies receive and react well to local food. The body is able to absorb much more nutrients from fresh local food, as the nutrient value in most frozen food is far less due to much of it being lost during the transition time taken from when it was harvested to the time we buy it off the supermarket shelves.
Here are some advantages of buying local produce:
You buy and eat local produce which are in season and perfectly ripe, taste better and are full of nutrition. You can buy what you need in smaller quantities, rather than the fixed quantities in which frozen food comes in.
Food experts will tell you there is a huge difference between using fresh, leafy vegetables rather than the frozen variety. If you watch cooking shows from around the world, you will notice chefs always prefer to cook dishes that make use of the available fresh regional produce that is in season which they buy in the neighborhood wet markets, be it poultry, seafood or meat.
Our bodies get the nourishment from the foods we eat – important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. By eating good quality fresh food, we feed our body correctly, which in turn will boost our immune system to fight off common illnesses.
On the other hand, frozen food lacks much in nutritional value, and will often have some form of preservative to make them last longer.
Imported food such as fruit for example, have a rather long journey ahead of them before arriving on the food shelves of your neighborhood food store. To start off, the fruit must be picked before ripening to improve their shelf life. They are sprayed with chemicals to last longer, maintain the fresh look, cleaned and specially packed to withstand transportation, before being refrigerated or frozen, and then set out on long trips by road or flight.
Upon arrival, they must undergo sanitation checks (further spraying?), and various quality control checks before being released to the wholesalers. The wholesalers keep everything refrigerated or frozen until the food is distributed out to the stores.
There is high risk of food spoilage or contamination if the refrigeration or cold freezing equipment malfunctions along the way. So unless frozen food is well cooked, why risk it when local produce is available right at your doorstep?
Buying local produce supports your local agricultural community
The agricultural, livestock and fishing industries are all labour intensive, even with the help of a lot of modern machinery. Local farmers put in a lot of effort in producing the best crop, best poultry or best seafood.
Supporting our local farmers, neighborhood shops (kedai runcit) and local restaurants helps to circulate and keep the money within a community. It also promotes growth of a healthy cycle when demand for local produce increases, i.e., more jobs will be created for locals and more money circulating within ourselves.
Farmers can adapt their cultivation according to market requirement. For instance, if there is a greater demand for kampung eggs, it will encourage local poultry farmers to up their output.
We save the environment by reducing our carbon footprint
By buying local, we do not have to rely on refrigerated trucks to transport food from afar, airplanes to bring in frozen food, coldrooms to store frozen food, and finally, local transportation of food to the local supermarkets or neighborhood grocery shops. Local produce requires far less transportation, less refrigeration, hardly any storage, and still arrives in a fresh condition.
We will save a lot of unnecessary carbon emission into our environment, and make our little part of the world a healthier place to live in. We also lessen the stress on the planet.
Cooking western and eastern dishes is fine if most of the common ingredients can be substituted for local produce, i.e., cook a curry with local mutton instead of the imported variety which also costs much more.
Lastly, local produce does not go through a long transportation process and is full of nutrition, making it much healthier than frozen food. An important fact to highlight is local fresh produce is unprocessed and unrefined, making the contents very wholesome.
3rd September 20:30 2020