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The REAL cost of food

Eating seasonally and locally helps reduce hidden costs now… and for future generations

What’s the real cost of food? Altogether, we Americans spend $1.1 trillion buying our food every year. But the real cost of food is even higher than that — three times higher!

That’s according to a report from the Rockefeller Foundation that was recently featured in The Washington Post.

So whether we know it or not, we’re not just paying for the food we buy. We’re also paying for hidden healthcare and environmental costs. Those costs are also being shouldered by businesses, food producers, and the government. Unfortunately, future generations will pay the price, too.

real cost of food for future generations

The bad news: “Our food system is broken.”

That’s what our Head Veggie Fairy Duane said way back in 2011 when he founded Seasonal Roots. That’s why he pioneered what was, back then, a new way of uniting Virginia communities with their local farmers — our home-delivered online farmers market.

duane - food system is broken

And the good news…?

So the good news is, each of us can make a difference by choosing to eat locally and seasonally! Here are the some of the findings in the Rockefeller Foundation study…

Rising healthcare costs

The Rockefeller researchers studied 14 aspects of food production in the United States. That gave them the data they needed to add up what our food is really costing us.

One of the biggest hidden costs of our current food system is healthcare.

Before the 1950s, hunger and vitamin deficiency were both big problems. So the goal was to develop a food system that could get lots of low-cost calories and vitamins into a booming population. They didn’t realize that such a system would eventually fuel a boom in other health problems.

Most people now get plenty of calories and enough vitamins to get by. But it’s estimated that every year health problems linked to our modern diet cost us more than $600 billion! Those health problems include diseases like hypertension, cancer, and diabetes.

We could cut those yearly health care costs (and the suffering that goes with it) by $250 billion … if we could just get our rate of diet-related diseases down to the rates you see in countries like Canada.

Two things could help get us there:

  1. The food industry could develop healthier foods and limit how they market unhealthy foods.
  2. Each of us can make healthier choices about what and how we eat.

As individuals, we don’t have much control over the first. But happily, we can control the second!

eating locally eating seasonally

Impact on the environment

Industrial-scale farming and ranching can place serious burdens on the environment. We’re talking about greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion, and soil erosion.

And when industrial farming cuts down forests and plows up grasslands, it also reduces biodiversity. These practices destroy habitats and force animals, birds, reptiles, and insects into ever-shrinking wild spaces. When ecosystems become overcrowded and unproductive, they become unhealthy. And the damage doesn’t just hurt the wildlife. Pests and disease can become a problem for us humans, too, affecting our food supplies.

Each year in America, all these environmental costs add up to almost $900 billion.

Right now, if a farmer wants to switch to using more sustainable methods that are less harmful to the environment, the system isn’t set up to help. Changing how you farm is hard and expensive. Improving that situation requires high level policy changes.

But in the meantime, each of us can make a difference by supporting farmers who are taking the initiative to become more sustainable on their own.

flores farm sustainable farming

Our sustainable farmers are reducing the real cost of food

At Seasonal Roots, we partner with local farmers like Gerardo Flores of G. Flores Produce (pictured above, left, with Sam, our farmer and artisan connector, on the right.) Our farming partners rely on sustainable, humane farming methods that are good for people, animals, and the environment.

To reduce the hidden (but real!) cost of food, our farmers are tilling as little as possible and using cover crops that help build healthy soil and prevent erosion. They’re practicing integrated pest management to reduce the need for pesticides. They’re rotating their livestock between pastures to allow the grass to recover naturally.

harmony hill farm sustainable farming

Some are turning to solar power for their electricity needs. They’re conserving water. Family farmers are often working land that has co-existed for generations with neighboring wild ecosystems.

And when nearby communities buy the food they grow and make, that food doesn’t have to travel far. That reduces its carbon footprint or “foodprint.”

eat locally eat seasonally to reduce the real cost of food

While eating farm fresh produce within days of harvest tastes great, it has a bigger impact. Simply by choosing to eat locally, season by season, you’re making the world a better place — now, and for future generations!

Want to learn more? Get more details from The Washington Post story.

Or take a deep dive into the Rockefeller Foundation’s full report.

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 and dads 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.

Why farm-fresh food lovers LOVE Seasonal Roots

Don’t just take our word for it — check out what our members have to say!

(Got less than 2 minutes? Click here to watch our members talk farm-fresh food on the Seasonal Roots YouTube Channel.)

Nothing beats farm-fresh food. And once you have a taste for it, Seasonal Roots is the easiest way to get the freshest local food. Seasonal Roots members explain why.

hannah supports local farmers

“I first heard about Seasonal Roots from two local friends,” says Hannah, a Seasonal Roots member since 2020. “They told us how easy it was to order and that everything came right to your doorstep, and it was all fresh local food.”

Has Seasonal Roots lived up to those promises?

“Oh yes, above and beyond!  It’s fresh, it’s local, it’s high quality, and delicious.”

Taste the farm-fresh difference

“When it comes to having farm-fresh produce, it is just a world of difference,” says Erica, who’s been enjoying fresh local food from Seasonal Roots since 2016.

erica loves convenient home delivery

A busy mom, she found us through a quick Google search. She grew up with fresh produce from her grandparents’ garden. “I just love the fresh produce. Once you have it, and you taste the difference, you taste the freshness of the fruits and the vegetables — then buying grocery store produce, even organic produce from the grocery store, you still get that kind of filmy taste where they have sprayed it just to try to preserve the shelf life of it. So there is a huge difference.”

“I grew up on a farm,” Hannah recalls. How does Seasonal Roots compare? “The quality of the fruits and the veggies and the artisan foods is amazing.”

hamilton can taste the farm-fresh difference

Hannah’s husband Hamilton adds, “I had worked on her family farm for a summer, so I know the difference between store-bought groceries and right-from-the-farm groceries. And you can really taste a difference.”

Erica agrees. “I cannot eat grocery store carrots anymore just because I swear by these carrots that come from the local farms. They’re sweet. They taste fresh.” (So tell us how you really feel about the carrots, Erica!) She laughs, “The carrots are, like, out of this world!”

farm-fresh carrots

For Jo Anne, who’s also been a member since 2016, her fave is greener: “Kale for my juices.”

jo anne enjoys farm-fresh produce in season

As Jo Anne sorts through her freshly delivered box of goodies she sighs, “Beautiful, my box is always beautiful. I always get whatever’s in season. Never disappointed.” She holds up a green and white bouquet of spring onions. “Mmmm, yummy!”

jo anne's box of fresh local food

Hannah’s fave? “I love the hydroponic lettuce that comes from the hydroponic farm. And the fresh farm eggs. They are so delicious! Better than Costco.”

hannah's daughter loves fresh local yogurt

Hannah and Hamilton’s little one chimes in: “I like strawberry yogurt!”

Convenient online ordering plus home delivery of farm-fresh food

“It’s convenient that it’s just delivered to my door,” says Erica. “I have small kids and we have a busy schedule, always on the go. And so if I don’t have to worry about going to the farmers market or going to the grocery store, then that’s just one less thing. That is off my list.”

home-delivered farm-fresh food

Neighborhood Market Managers provide personalized customer care

Hannah says, “We love our Market Manager who delivers our food. She’s become a friend.” She turns to her daughter. “Do you like it when the Veggie Fairy comes?” The answer is a definite, “Yeah!”

Erica explains the advantage of knowing exactly who’s dropping off your food. “She writes me these little, I call them little love notes — updates if something’s missing, or she swapped something out or she put a little extra peppers or something like that in my box.”

According to Jo Anne, “I have the best Veggie Fairy ever.” (Everyone says that!) “Really, you can always count on the freshness. And guaranteed, too. If something isn’t right, you make a phone call — they WILL make it right.”

farm-fresh food delivered with personalized customer care

Erica concludes: “Having someone that cares, someone that is coming and delivering produce to your family, that is just everything.”

(Discover what neighborhood Market Managers have to say about Seasonal Roots)

Supporting local farmers is a win-win!

Part of the reason Hannah joined was because of where she grew up. “I grew up on my family’s farm. So when we moved down here I wanted to support the local farmers.”

Jo Anne points out, “It tastes different from the grocery store, because it IS much fresher. You’re also supporting the local farms. So it’s a win-win situation!”

erica's box of farm-fresh produce

Hamilton sums it all up: “If you’re looking for higher quality, this is the way to go.”

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 and dads 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.

A Toast to the Women in our Lives

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Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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Spice up your celebration Seasonal Roots style

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / May 1, 2019

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Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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Loving Seasonal Roots means loving the earth

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 24, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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Easter to remember

Make it an Easter to remember

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 17, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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online farmers market how to order

YOUR ONLINE MARKET JUST GOT BETTER

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 10, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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$20-20 vision

Eat healthier and save $20!

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / April 3, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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PREMIUM ITEMS for your basket

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / March 26, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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INTRODUCING THE FARM AT RED HILL

EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER NEWSLETTER / March 19, 2019

Tips, hacks, recipes, stories, and the weekly special all help you eat better live better with fresh local food!

Read the newsletter below, or view this issue as a printable PDF with clickable links.

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