Regional food vs local food: What’s the difference?
– By the Veggie Fairy Team
Sometimes it’s obvious: If an apple comes from New Zealand, it’s not local, at least not here in Virginia. If it’s an avocado like the one in the picture, that didn’t grow round these parts, either. But what if it comes from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or even Florida?
What’s the difference between regional food vs local food?
There’s no official definition for ‘local food’ or ‘regional food’. Seasonal Roots considers food ‘local’ if it’s grown or made within about 150 miles of where we deliver. We call it ‘regional’ if it’s outside that range but can still get to us within a day or so of harvest without flying.
Any further than that and it isn’t fresh enough or nutritious or flavorful enough for us, and probably comes with a bigger carbon foot-print, too. Click here to read why local — and regional — produce is better for you.
So most of our online farmers market items are local, and in the winter we add regional items from Florida.
One thing you’ll never see in our market is anything from New Zealand, or even California. (And nothing grown by Big Industrial Agriculture, either. We partner with family farmers only.)
What if I want to eat local food only?
Take a good look at this picture. Can you tell the local food from the regional food in that basket-worth of items? When you’re shopping our online farmers market, you never have to guess because we always tell you where it was grown by which family farmer.
That’s important, because some of our members take satisfaction in eating only what nature can provide in season here in Virginia. They keep all their food dollars local and avoid things like tropical fruits that don’t grow this far north. After all, humans survive just fine on different diets the world over.
Other members enjoy the variety that regional options offer, especially in winter. When snow’s on the ground, they’re willing to go a little farther afield to enjoy produce like oranges and avocados grown by family farmers in Florida.
Seasonal Roots is here to support your choice, whether you choose to eat 100% local or occasionally go regional. We always make it clear where each item in our online farmers market is grown or made. That way you can choose the food that’s right for you, good for you, and still good for our planet, too!
For tropical fruit lovers: Meet V&B Farms
Tropical fruits are an important part of a healthy diet — as pirates and other seafarers discovered when they got scurvy! But citrus doesn’t grow in Virginia.
So as part of our commitment to eat food from the closest farms possible, during the winter months we partner with V&B Farms in Florida. These Sunshine State farmers can grow the citrus and other tropical and summery fruits like those avocados that we need for a healthy diet – but can’t grow up here in Virginia.
Coming from nearby Florida, V&B’s produce will travel far less than produce from California or Central and South America. That means it’s fresher, riper, tastier, and still packed with nutrients. And it’s better for the environment, since less travel equals less pollution.
Tommy’s a fourth generation farmer who was driving the family’s tractors by the time he was seven. Now he volunteers his time at local schools to help promote the next generation of Florida growers.
Brandon’s a fifth generation horticulturist. With a degree in horticulture technology, he has worked on research to make aquaponics more sustainable.
We’re glad to support Tommy and Brandon as they focus on the future of local, sustainable farming right here in our region!
ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS
Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.