Locally sourced food is not just a corporate ploy to charge you more. Buying local goods benefits you. It supports your community’s economy, conserves natural resources like water and oil, and reduces the carbon footprint.
Produce in the US is usually picked about a week before making it to the supermarket shelves, and it’s shipped 1,500 miles on average before being sold. And that’s only taking into account American goods. Now think about those stats when we consider all the food we import from places like Mexico, South America, Asia, and Canada. The time, distance, and resources required to get imported foods to your table is significantly increased when imported.
Plus, local foods are healthier and taste better! It’s important to buy locally.
Locally sourced food is healthier. Fresh produce begins losing nutrients when it’s picked. On its course from the field to your dinner table, plant cells shrink, sugars turn to starches, and the produce loses its overall vitality. Locally grown food spends much less time in transport and waiting, so you get fresher, higher quality produce.
Local food tastes better. Small-scale, local crops are picked at their peak because they can be delivered to buyers immediately without risk of going bad in transit or storage. Products like cheese are hand crafted for the best quality and flavor. The products of industrial agriculture and imports are older, lower quality, and simply don’t taste as good.
Local food is sustainable. Transporting food long distances wastes exorbitant amounts of energy and natural resources like water, oil, and electricity. The fossil fuels consumed in the food system contribute to global warming, acid rain, and smog. Buying locally grown and crafted foods reduces the carbon footprint and waste of these precious resources. Local food also benefits the environment and wildlife because well-managed, smaller-scale farms conserve fertile soil and clean water in their communities.
Local food supports small business. Farmers make little more than the cost of production through the wholesale of their goods. When local farmers sell their products directly to consumers, they cut out the middleman and get the full retail value of their food. This means they can afford to stay on their land and continue providing their communities with healthy, delicious food.
Local food builds community. There is a huge disconnect between you and your food when you buy from a supermarket. You don’t know precisely where your food comes from, the farmers who produce it, or the quality with which it is grown or raised. When we buy local foods directly from a farmer, we foster a more intimate relationship with our farmers and our food. We gain valuable insight into the land, the seasons, and the foods they produce. Farmers markets also bring neighbors and members of the community together, improving relationships, as well as reviving public spaces. Local food markets improve the quality of life in their communities.