By Rebekah Staub
Flapjack Chronicle staff
Students at Humboldt State University rarely ask themselves how supporting local businesses and buying locally grown food would benefit themselves. Locally grown food has proven to be delicious, accessible and unexpectedly affordable for college students with the bountiful community of Arcata at their fingertips.
An undeniable trait of locally grown food is its taste. Laura Hahn, who eats produce from a CSA in Arcata, loves the taste of these local crops.
“It does not taste like the same food,” the communications professor said. “It simply tastes better.”
Larissa DeMalteris, a wildlife major who has been eating locally grown food for the past four years, can’t get enough of its deliciousness.
“Even something simple like a sandwich tastes like magic when it’s made with local ingredients,” the 21-year-old said. “It is way fresher and a million times healthier.”
Access to this tasty food is made easy in a town like Arcata, where local ingredients are sold at stores and used in restaurants at every opportunity.
“I have never seen so many restaurants in a single town that use local ingredients,” DeMalteris said. “It makes eating so much more enjoyable in the aspect that it tastes amazing, looks great, and I don’t have to travel to a far-off farm to get it.”
Arcata informs its residents when food is locally grown.
“I appreciate and value being able to find that in a restaurant,” Hahn said. “I also like that the Co-Op and Wildberries do nice jobs of putting signs up and identifying when produce or food is local.”
Both Wildberries and the North Coast Co-Op slap “local” stickers on their food that has been grown or produced within 250 miles. The North Coast Co-Op provides only local products in its deli.
When students invest and indulge in local food, their taste buds aren’t the only thing thanking them.
“Locally grown food has no statistical price difference than normal produce or food,” said economist Mark Bennett.
Hahn agrees, never noticing an obvious change in price. Still, Wildberries offers “Student Savings Saturday” where students can save 20 percent off their total purchase.
Students wallets will be the same, but the economy of Arcata expands.
“Local food strengthens the economy,” Bennett said. “It keeps money in local communities and helps create jobs, which in turn can help reduce crime.”
With full stomachs and matching wallets, HSU students are provided with a yummy opportunity to connect to their community.
“I love giving back to the community,” DeMalteris said. “It’s even better when it’s done through something as fun as eating.”