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Buying, eating local has many benefits

With Thanksgiving just a few days away and the holiday season kicking off, all of us are going to have to make many choices about what we eat — and where we get it from — in the coming weeks.

These choices can sometimes be overwhelming, but we would like to remind our readers about the importance of buying and eating local food this holiday season and throughout the entire year.

Buying and eating local food supports our health, as well as the area’s economy and environment, explained Sarah Monte, outreach director for the Marquette Food Co-op, in her presentation “Who’s Hungry? Access to Local Food in the U.P.” The presentation was held Wednesday as part of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s Livestream Series, “This is It!”

“We know that local food is very helpful to our health,” Monte said in Saturday’s Journal article by Christie Mastric about the presentation. “Food that has traveled a long distance naturally is going to lose nutrients. The closer we can eat the plant to when it was picked, the better it is for us.”

But beyond those health benefits, spending money on local food keeps your dollars in the community and helps area farms stay afloat amid these challenging times.

“It’s really important that we invest in our food system to help support our local economy and our friends and neighbors who are producing that food,” Monte said.

And it’s also critical to support farms and develop our local food systems so we can ensure the U.P. will have enough food, should regional or national food distribution systems slow down or halt. Unfortunately, this a particularly salient issue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They believe there is only three days’ worth of food between trucks that come to the U.P.,” Monte said. “So, it’s really important that we make sure to keep developing our local food system so that we have more local food to rely on that isn’t dependent on a truck coming from Wisconsin or downstate to bring it.”

Monte makes it clear that buying local foods has many benefits for individuals and the area as a whole, because supporting our local food producers can have a huge impact on our health, economy and environment.

We hope our readers will consider placing an emphasis on buying local foods this holiday season and throughout the year, as it’s a tasty way to make a positive impact on the community.

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