A new report from the University of Florida’s Food and Agriculture Program looks at how fresh produce and local products can benefit the environment.
The researchers found that the produce grown in Florida, where the state has the highest per capita consumption of fruits and vegetables in the nation, can be both environmentally friendly and nutritious.
Fresh produce and its products are used to make many different products, but it is important to understand how they are used, said Jessica A. Schreiber, assistant professor of food and agronomy and the study’s lead author.
“The fruit and vegetable industry is not just an industry that uses greenhouse gases to produce greenhouse gases, but an industry which also uses the environment as a source of energy and carbon,” said Schreib.
“When you are buying from a local source, it is also a source that you can use for your own household use and it is one of the many reasons why Florida is the most nutrient dense state in the country.”
Fresh fruits and vegetable are grown in areas with high rainfall, low soil moisture and good soil health, said Schraib.
These factors increase the amount of nutrients in the soil and the fruits and greens can be eaten by humans and animals.
“We know from research that fresh produce can increase the production of nitrates and phosphorous, which are known to be carcinogenic and may be associated with increased rates of cancer in humans,” said Alyssa G. Mazzuca, a senior scientist with the University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Research and lead author of the report.
“While we know that fresh fruits and veg can be beneficial for the environment, we also know that there is a need for the food we eat to be a better source of nutrients and healthful food choices,” said Mazzucas research assistant.
“Our findings highlight the importance of eating fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to our health and wellbeing.”
Schreib’s research has focused on the role of produce in the local food system.
She has analyzed data from the Food and Nutrition Board of the USDA and looked at the types of products produced in Florida and other states.
The researchers also studied a database of foods sold by retailers across the United States.
They found that fresh vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, tomatoes and peppers, are a top pick in Florida.
The fresh produce is also used to provide protein and fat in packaged foods.
The study was published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
For more information, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture’s website.