With the holidays coming up right around the corner, many people begin looking forward to their traditional holiday meal and gathering.

With the holidays coming up right around the corner, many people begin looking forward to their traditional holiday meal and gathering.

Food plays a major role in celebrations, and this holiday season I would like to encourage Independence residents to celebrate health and community by bringing local food to their tables.

Why eat local? Eating local foods not only benefits your health, but also our local economy and environment. We have many farmers located in and around Independence, and what could be better than getting food at the peak of freshness, straight from the farmer?

Eating local food means eating more seasonal items and eating a variety of different foods that contribute to a healthful diet. This is especially important over the holidays when most of us tend to overindulge and consume more high-fat, and high-sugar treats.

Eat Local for the Holidays is a regional campaign started by the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition with support from KC Healthy Kids to bring about awareness that although the weather is getting colder and many farmers’ markets are closed for the season, there are still numerous ways to support our local food system through the holiday months. There are several farmers’ markets open through the winter season, grocery stores in the area carry local products, restaurants that integrate local foods into their dishes and meat purveyors that are open year-round.

To find out more about these opportunities to benefit your health and support local businesses, or to make a pledge of support to the campaign, please visit http://www.eatlocalkc.net/.