Loco for Local: How and Why to Eat Local Food


To hear more tips and benefits of eating local, join Kerk as she presents in the Healthy Get-Together Speaker Series titled, Loco for Local: How and Why to Eat Local. Kerk’s session will be on Tuesday, September 18th from 7:00 – 8:00 pm in Auditorium A at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The event is free, open to everyone, and parking passes are available. Our local food scene is bursting with opportunity. Come and get excited by the possibilities!

To register for the event visit www.eventbrite.ca and search “loco for local”, click our event, hit “register” and follow the prompts.

Can’t make it? To watch Kerk’s session, or other recorded Healthy Get-Together sessions, go to www.bit.ly/healthygettogether.

By Sarah Hyett, Prevention and Screening Services - September 15, 2018

Have you ever wondered what all the ‘eating local’ fuss is about? The benefits are more extensive than you might think. Eating local can be good for your health, improves the taste of your food, is good for the environment, and for your community economy overall.

Karen Kerk, Coordinator of Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy, explains why eating local is so important to our overall healthy lifestyles. “Local food is often higher in nutrients because it travels less and is picked at peak ripeness. Eating local means incorporating food that was grown, raised, and processed in Northwestern Ontario, or as close to home as you can find. This includes eating food you grew in your backyard garden, harvesting wild blueberries close to home, and buying locally produced meat, dairy, or vegetables from a local farm,” Kerk explains.

One common misconception about eating local is that it has to be expensive. Kerk explains that, while some items might be more costly due to the resources they require to be produced, most local items are comparable to grocery store prices. Eating local doesn’t even have to involve purchasing! It could be as simple as going berry picking. However, when we do spend our money on local food, it supports the local economy. “When you spend some of your grocery budget locally, those farmers and processors in turn spend some of their money locally, and the cycle continues keeping that money circulating here as opposed to far away,” explains Kerk.

Here are Kerk’s tips for eating local:

  1. Swap in the local: Determine how much your budget is and which items you can easily swap for local versions. Potatoes are a good, local example to start swapping in.

  2. Percentage of local items: Another idea would be to commit to spending a certain percentage of your budget locally.

Be more (locally) open: Commit to being open to more local choices. Try out local produce you have never cooked with before, such as kohlrabi.

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