Community Food Systems

Home Eating Seasonally and Locally Growing Food Security in NY Communities Usability of the Northeast Regional Food Guide

Eating Seasonally and Locally


One of the important questions about community food systems has to do with the implication of such a food system on the way we eat. Put another way, how can our diets help achieve and sustainable local community-based food systems? There is growing recognition that the food choices we make everyday can have important impacts on our food system. One way to foster local, community-based food systems is to choose foods that are grown on nearby farms, processed in your area, and marketed through local food stores, schools, hospitals and other public and private institutional food service. Food choices based on the Northeast region's food and agriculture system would naturally vary by season according to availability of agricultural commodities, and vary by the form in which foods are consumed - fresh, stored, canned, frozen, or dried. Seasonally varied, locally-based diets need not be restrictive or limited; rather, they can be a delicious transition from one season to another.


Food guides are nutrition education tools designed to help people choose healthful diets that decrease risk of diet-related chronic diseases. The Northeast Regional Food Guide is an alternative to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. The USDA Food Guide Pyramid "is an outline of what to eat each day. It's not a rigid prescription, but a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet that's right for you. There are several similarities and differences between the USDA Food Guide Pyramid and the Northeast Regional Food Guide. In addition to health objectives, the Northeast Regional Food Guide goes further to include dietary recommendations for enhancing community food systems. This regional food guide promotes a diet that is seasonally varied to reflect the availability of foods (particularly fruits and vegetables) in the northeast region. Likewise, this regional food guide includes a set of dietary guidelines for the Northeast.