written by Alessia Marras
During the past few years, we all have been talking so much about sustainability and dietary habits. Most of us tried vegan or vegetarian meals at least once, and some of us even chose to adopt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle as a personal answer to our planet’s needs and wants. In our daily runs to the grocery store and struggles with lunch breaks, we all try our best in terms of conscious eating and consumptions.
Fact is, not many people know that one of the easiest ways for moving towards a sustainable consumption pattern is to shop seasonal food. Seasonal eating is a proposal based on the assumption that it could reduce the environmental impact of the diet. Moreover, it can help us reconnect with the origins of the food we eat and have a better understanding of the natural growing and production seasons of food. The global markets created a food culture that offers a more varied diet in many developed countries, even where some foods were not naturally available, but this privilege comes with a high environmental cost and a higher energy and land usage, resulting in a loss of environmental biodiversity.
But what does seasonal eating means, exactly? A recent study commissioned by the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs could help us understand seasonality, which can be defined as either global or local. “Globally seasonal” refers to food produced in the natural production season but consumed anywhere in the world, while “locally seasonal” refers to food produced in the natural production season and consumed within the same climatic zone.
Now, there are at least three main reasons why you should start eating seasonal food:
- For your health
Seasonal eating is good for your health since food grown and consumed during its appropriate season is way more nutritionally dense than food grown out of season. Especially for fruits and vegetables, being available year-round means chemical treatments, gases, and heat processes. Most of the time, these treatments slow the maturation and ripening process, but also help protecting from bacteria and other pathogens. Choosing seasonal food means choosing less chemicals and more nutrients and vitamins.
- For your wallet
Economically speaking, if there is an increase in supply for goods while demand remains the same, prices tend to fall to a lower equilibrium. Here is why when food is in its season it is abundant and available at a lower price. Choosing seasonal food means saving a little money every year while respecting food’s natural cycle.
- For your planet
This should be the salient benefit of seasonal eating: since you are actively supporting a geographically sustainable food economy and effectively reducing your carbon footprint, you are diminishing the fossil fuel usage to transport out-of-season products from a world area to another. Choosing seasonal food means avoiding pesticides and preservative chemicals used to protect food during its journey, made just to meet you at the grocery store.