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Eating local and seasonal food

Nowadays, we are quite spoiled by the availability of food. Want strawberries for Valentine's Day? Here are the strawberries. Do you like zucchini in January? There is a zucchini in the grocery store. There is also avocado, mango, papaya.


However, some thought should be given before purchasing these products. Some are not in season, others are tropical fruits. Why is it important?


In short: consumption of vegetables and fruits that do not grow in your area during the season of consumption is bad for the environment and poorer in nutrients.


And here are more detailed explanations.


Impact on the environment


Tropical foods or foods that are not in season are imported from abroad. Examples are avocados, mangoes, pineapples, bananas, papayas and similar tropical fruits, California almonds, as well as tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, blueberries and other "summer" fruits in the middle of winter. Transport by ships and planes pollutes the environment, and storage in huge fridges produces high emissions of greenhouse gases.



Avocado is a special case. This trendy food, in addition to the transportation, also has the problem of excessive water consumption - as much as 70 liters are needed for one avocado, which is, for example, 14 times more than for one tomato. Furthermore, the huge craze for avocados has caused farmers in Mexico - the largest producer of avocados - to cut down forests to plant more avocado trees to meet the increased demand, but also to make more money. And as if that wasn't enough, the mafia got involved in everything, robbing farmers of their fields, often killing them. At this point, a boycott of avocado consumption seems like the only solution.


Nutritional values


Foods grown out of season and outside the place of consumption are often harvested unripe, treated against insects and rotting, and processed to withstand long journeys. Some countries (eg China, from which a lot of garlic is imported) do not have strict regulations on pesticides like the EU, but this is not controlled during import. So, all these foods do not have the nutritional value they have when they grow seasonally and locally. And they are not as delicious either! We all know that strawberries are at their best in June, tangerines in December, and tomatoes at the end of August.


Production in Spain


A large part of Europe imports "summer" foods from Spain in the winter. Manufacturing farms in the south of Spain use African refugees as cheap labor force, exploiting and abusing them. They do not hire them permanently, but day by day; they pay them illegally and below the prescribed minimum hourly wage. A lot of these people live among the greenhouses using thick plastic films to improvise sleeping tents for them and their families.


Price


When foods is in its season and grown locally and naturally, the cost of cultivation is not high, which results in a cheaper price of products in stores. On the contrary, foods out of season need special artificial conditions to grow, and tropical foods need transport to us, so the final price in stores is high.


Of course, everyone can and is allowed to reach for foods that are not currently in season or that are not local - we use modern civilizational achievements - but I would like to spread awareness that it is not good to practice this often.


Calendar of seasonality


The table shows the seasonal calendar of foods in Croatia.



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