According to Shift Your Habit author Elizabeth Rogers, a few small changes can add up to big savings for you and your family—and the planet!
You'll save big if one-third of the produce you buy is out of season. Buying local, seasonal produce reduces the amount of transport energy—or "food miles"—it takes to bring your food from farm to table. In order to carry certain fruits and vegetables year-round, supermarkets buy them from countries in the Southern Hemisphere. To preserve freshness and prevent bruising, growers package imported produce in excessive amounts of plastic and cardboard. Check the Country of Origin Label (COOL) produce sticker to see where an item originated. In order for out-of-season fruits and vegetables to survive the long-distance journey, it's necessary to harvest them long before they reach full ripeness. This may result in inferior taste, quality and nutritional value compared to in-season produce.
Check out farmers' markets and farm stands for the best prices on truly local, seasonal produce. Visit the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's website for a handy search tool, which will help you find farmers' markets in your area.