Last fall, I did a literature review to address the notion that locally-grown produce is nutritionally superior to non-local produce. The results were compelling:I learned that levels of vitamins and other nutrients are often lost with non-local foods and that the microbial make-up is significantly different between organic and conventional foods.
Maybe you’d rather not think about the microbes on your salad, but there are a variety of beneficial bacteria that enter our bodies when we eat. The soil-based microbes provide immune system functions and important chemical interactions in the gut. These microbes are responsible not only for proper nutrients to be absorbed, like iron. The healthy microbes also manufacture important vitamins, like B5, pantothenic acid, that are essential for healthy adrenal and stress response.
In a small-scale local organic farm, typical production methods improve the health of the soil (such as cover crops and compost for fertilizer). According to a recent study published in Science Daily, organically-farmed soils in strawberry fields had higher microbial biomass, activity and diversity than conventional soils. Higher microbial diversity and activity generally correlate with lower disease and pathogen outbreaks. This means the organic foods will provide more benefits to our bodies. A local organic practice is likely to enhance that benefit because the microbes of a farm close by in theory would be more in sync with what our bodies need because the local microbes experience similar climatic and pathogenic stresses.
A CSA share is a great way to access local foods and get optimal nutrition. We are highlighting Kings Hill Farm this year as a vegetable provider to the Madison and Chicago communities. The farm is managed by my friend and fellow Kundalini yogi, Jai Kellum.