Growing your vegetables, greens, and berries or buying them fresh from local farmers is a step towards sustainable eating and a healthier diet, experts believe.
“The COVID-19 pandemic provides many good reasons to eat in healthier and more sustainable ways,” said Kaye Mehta, Associate Professor at Flinders University, Australia.
“Gardening or being part of a community gardening or local food swap group lifts social connection, reduces anxiety and stress, and improves mental health by nurturing plants out in the fresh air.”
Mehta administered a study where her team assessed a standard Australian diet. Which is typically far away from environmentally-friendly, (similar to the typical American eating pattern). Including high amounts of red meat and refined sugars consumed excessive packaging and undesirable food waste. She suggests one path that could solve these problems eat more food grown locally, whether it comes from your backyard or a nearby farm.
Her recommendations are supported by a UC Santa Barbara marine conservationist Jacob Eurich. He has said that supporting local food production and intraregional trade strengthens the food system. “Consuming more locally produced fresh foods and less non-perishable shelf-stable foods is a step in the right direction.”
Mehta believes an important foundation for food supply should not only be healthiness, but it’s environmental and social sustainability. Of course, there’s a long way to go until we reach the ideal concept of the food industry, but small and regular changes like eating local produce will make a significant impact.