GR US

Locality Meets Seasonality: Eating Sustainably and Healthy

Ευρωκίνηση

(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Panagopoulos)

How many times have you heard “everything happens for a reason”? It is almost a cliché used even if you believe in a ‘higher will’ or not. Maybe it is one of the dimensions that the human brain cannot explain. From an agricultural perspective, this is what happens every September in Greece.

Summer is almost gone, and temperatures are lower in September. You look at your closet and search for an extra layer for the cool breeze. Similarly, nature ‘change its clothes.’ Leaves start to fall and summer vegetation ‘gives space’ to fall vegetation. Farmers start to plant new seasonal vegetables and take care of the fall fruit trees and bushes. Grapes and figs are at their best, sweet and tasty, as they should be, to attract birds and other animals to eat them and spread their seeds ‘with the help’ of their digestion system.

This is where seasonality meets locality and vice versa. Regardless your level of environmental awareness and caring about the environment, eating local and seasonal food should be on your ‘to do’ list every day. Local food will be fresh and most of the times, with less chemicals. Knowing your local farmer would be ideal to whom you should give your weekly order of fresh vegetables and fruit. In Greece, there are networks of ‘farmer’s weekly basket’ groups delivering food directly to your home. Maybe in New York City there is something similar too. Vegetables and fruits are living organisms every hour since they were cut counts in terms of nutritional value. An excellent example is spinach. It has been proved that nutrients are lower each day it stays in your fringe, even if it looks fresh and yummy. Plus, if a vegetable travels miles and days from the place where it grew, it is usually cut unripe. Seasonality is also a parameter for healthier food with less agrochemicals. If you try to produce a plant which normally cannot be grown in certain conditions, agrochemicals and/or practices to ‘cheat’ outside its normal ideal environment are used. Eating seasonal food gives you the most nutrients in a clean and natural way.

Support local farmers – they will produce seasonal fresh fruit that will take care of your body. Add this to your goals, giving a little extra from your time and budget. It is not so impossible if you approach it as a problem in your life that needs a solution. Nature knows – follow its rhythm. It has existed much longer than us and our sciences. Everything happens for a reason, even if scientifically some things are too complex to be fully explored and explained from the human perspective.

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication