Introducing fresh produce into the mix is one way to promote a culture of healthier eating. Choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables – and supporting local growers – also is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to health and the community.
Benefits of using seasonal and local foods include:
- Fresh produce is a nutritious energy source that encourages healthy eating habits.
- Seasonal produce can be less expensive, especially if you buy in bulk.
- Local foods require less travel time, which means they will be fresher.
- Crops that are grown seasonally do not need artificial heat and light, as they are not being grown year-round under artificial conditions. Traditional systems of local farming often are small and diverse, and they help reduce the need for synthetic pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers.
- Foods that travel shorter distances from farm to table requires less fossil fuels and packaging.
- You support your local community, economy and agriculture, and help protect local farmland.
Participate in community-supported agriculture
One way to get fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to your workplace is to participate in a community-supported agriculture (CSA). CSA provides locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables to workplaces or individuals on a subscription basis. This subscription typically includes a weekly delivery of one or more large boxes of produce. Collaborate with your management staff and employees to determine the best way to pay for the fruit and vegetable deliveries. Locate participating CSA farms in your area by visiting localharvest.org.
Order from private companies
If you prefer to receive customized orders of fresh fruits and vegetables, consider using private companies that specialize in shipping fresh produce. Then you can choose how much, how often and what types of produce you want delivered. The time from harvest to consumption can be as few as three days.
Create an on-site farmers market
Establishing an on-site farmers market increases access to fresh produce and provides a marketplace for local farmers. This is convenient for employees, as well as neighborhood residents, to purchase healthy foods during the workday. If you are interested in establishing an on-site farmers market, consider these steps:
- Ask employees about their needs and interests through a survey.
- Request the necessary approvals from your city council.
- Contact the market managers of your local farmers market and ask for vendor suggestions.
- Develop a communication plan.