So, it is springtime in Perth and the weather has been sensational recently. Something about this time of the year that makes everyone get into their kitchens and fix themselves and their families a lovingly served home-cooked meal! The local food marts and grocery stores are filled to the brim with mouth-watering produce from around the world. I see people busy buying the choicest foods that most take their fancy – olives from Italy and tomatoes straight from Spain! And there are such enticing aromas wafting from the many kitchens in my neighbourhood that make me wonder – “What’s cooking Perth?”
I have never been a purist. And I have been known to buy the occasional melon in winter and mangoes for Christmas. That being said, as a Health Coach and an ardent lover of homegrown produce, I do know that there is incredible health value in food that is available in-season. Much like a body clock, mother nature too has a clock that is set perfectly in sync with the times. The fruits and vegetables that are supposed to be growing in summer, are more appetising and full of flavour in summer. The body too feels more nourished and revitalized when such food is consumed, as opposed to when we consume food that is not in-season. It is nature’s way of telling us what’s best for us!
‘Goodness’ Lost in Transportation
Another valid point that many home growers and gardeners make is about how food is transported. Those olives from Italy and tomatoes from Spain are packaged, shipped and stored in multiple warehouses as they travel halfway across the world to their final destination. They are sprayed and fumigated with tons of chemicals that help suspend their natural decaying processes and retain their fresh and taut appearance even after days of travel. Sometimes the extent of this chemical manipulation is such that the food that we bring home, looks perfectly pristine and fresh on the outside, and is beyond rotten on the inside! I won’t be surprised if you have experienced this at one time or another.
The Local Farmer
Additionally, it is far likely that the in-season produce that you buy is grown locally and helps sustain the agricultural practice happening in your community. The local farmer is a severely affected being. A visit to the farmer’s markets where large quantities of in-season produce are in vibrant display, along with the farmers themselves who will talk to you about their issues and challenges, can give you a rough idea of what is happening in the wider society. This drastic change in people’s eating, as well as buying habits, have caused massive disturbances to the local economy and food practices.
Saving the Planet
And lastly, my final argument is about saving our planet. Food and produce that is transported across the world as freight on ships or planes burns tremendous amounts of oil to complete the journey. Oil that should be saved for other more urgent and immediate purposes. Far from being sustainable, this constant juggling of food from one end of the globe to another is disruptive and harmful in the long run. For the conservative, green thinker, who believes that saving the planet takes precedence, the choice is apparent!
So, when you step into the market today to purchase food do not be misled by the colours, confused by the choices or lured by the labels. Think local, fresh and in-season instead. Make it a priority. And see your and your family’s health benefit from it. It is a better choice. It is definitely a healthier choice!