Eating Local: Commons Edition

We’ve all heard the classic saying “you are what you eat,” but have you ever wondered where you should eat? Incorporating locally-sourced ingredients into your diet is not only beneficial when it comes to your health but it can also make lasting environmental impacts on our planet. Whether you are enjoying a meal at Commons or restaurants in the greater Androscoggin area, eating local is one of the many small changes that we can make to improve our health, environment and well-being. 

In this article, we’ll look at why eating local, especially at Commons, is great from a health standpoint and when it comes to sustainability. 

Eating food that has been grown locally is the best way to get all of the nutrients one might need. Growing and harvesting crops, dairy, or meat products when done on small-scale farms can actually preserve nutritional content. Without the added hours of transporting food on a truck across the country, local food has less time between the harvest and your plate. Additionally, you can actually ensure the quality of your food is top-notch by asking the local farmers about how they each grow their products. Smaller businesses have this luxury since their supply chains are not being overworked and exploited. The people operating local farms also enjoy educating the community about the methods used to make their food fresh, which is often without the use of preservatives and pesticides. 

The next advantageous aspect of eating locally is that it is incredibly sustainable, on both economic and environmental levels. In terms of small-scale economies, eating local is one of the best ways to help restaurants and other food stores operate and pay their employees accordingly. As per the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), in the last ten years, small businesses have made up around 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs, and 49.2 percent of private-sector employment. This means that if we elect to eat locally as much as possible, we can help fuel the economy with more workers with these jobs. 

Perhaps the most impressive benefit of consuming locally grown items is the impact on the environment. With reduced transportation needs of the locally harvested foods, carbon emissions are lower than other larger agricultural companies and do not require as much plastic or non-biodegradable packaging. Here at Bates, locally-sourced ingredients are a key part of Commons’ incredible food selection. A Batesie favorite is the GrandyOats granola from Hiram, Maine, which has a solar-powered bakery with panels that are capable of offsetting 145,000 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions annually (which is the equivalent of driving roundtrip from Hiram to San Francisco 25 times). Another beloved item is the Borealis Bread, great for making creations like paninis and savory toasts, which happens to be owned by a Bates Alum out of Waldoboro, Maine. 

In celebration of eating local, CHEWS will host “Local Night” in Commons on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Look for signs highlighting all of the delicious local fares.

Make sure to check out the posters in Commons by the napkin board to learn more about where our fresh and tasty food comes from in our beautiful state of Maine. And even better, stop by the Plot or any other nearby gardens and harvest your own fruits and veggies!