Buying local food is a way to vote every time we shop. To support food and growers we believe in. To choose food that is better for our health and our planet. An opportunity to help preserve farmland and green spaces. A way to connect with the earth and to become more aware of the food we put in our bodies.
Local produce is picked within 24 – 48 hours. I love feeling like I’m bringing Mother Nature’s bounty into my kitchen, seasonal, fresh, locally grown.
Growing consumer demand in local and organic foods has quadrupled farmers markets in the U.S. in the past two decades (2,000 in 1994 to more than 8,700 in 2014). But they’re still only a tiny fraction of the food market. The more we shop at local markets, the more these local farmers will thrive and grow.
Why does it matter?
It’s Better for Our Health
Locally grown crops are harvested at their peak, arriving at the market within 48 hours of picking giving us the freshest produce from farm to table. Eating local means:
- Eating seasonally which in turn means a) more flavor and b) more nutrients because they ripen naturally. Produce that travels long distances is picked before it’s ripe.
- No ethylene gas, which is added to fruits imported out of season to artificially ripen.
- Contains less (or no) pesticides. Farmers have to pay an extra fee to become certified organic; some small-scale farmers use organic methods but aren’t certified because they simply cannot afford the certification fees. Even if they aren’t organic, small farmers tend to use fewer chemicals than large, industrialized farms.
- More variety, which in turn means more antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals for better health. Local farmers are more likely to choose varieties for flavor rather than yield. Large agricultural businesses that grow produce for distribution across the country choose varieties for high yield, fast growth rate, and ability to withstand long distance transport.
It’s Better for the Environment
- Eating more local food reduces CO2 emissions by reducing food miles (distance food travels from farm to consumer).
- Buying local food helps preserve farmland and green space from development. When local farmers are well compensated for their products, they’re less likely to sell their land to developers.
- Farms also provide a habitat for wildlife and maintain the ecosystem.
- We can help more farmers switch to these sustainable practices by increasing our consumption of organic products.
It Supports the Local Economy
- Money spent locally stays local. It helps local producers and is reinvested with businesses and services in our community, building our local economy instead of giving earnings to a corporation in another city/state/country.
- Local food moves through fewer hands so the money we spend goes to people growing those foods.
It Creates Community and Connection
Shopping at a local farmer’s market or signing up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are ways to get to know our local growers and where our food comes from.
CSA enables us to purchase seasonal produce directly from local farmers. A CSA-participating farm will offer a certain number of “shares” which are typically paid up-front. This helps pay for seeds and plants, greenhouse expenses, equipment, labor, and other costs related to the workings of the farm. The farm grows food for participating members. CSA members receive a weekly or biweekly share of the farm’s harvest. It’s a win-win. Community members become shareholders in the farm and the farm has a steady supply of revenues it can count on.
Did you know CSA’s began in Japan in the mid-1960s and 1970s, in response to consumer concern about the increasing use of pesticides in industrial farming?
My CSA is Loam Agronomics.
I enjoy receiving farm fresh, seasonal vegetables every week!
For More Empowerment