When most people think of buying food, they picture a trip to the supermarket. There’s a seemingly endless selection of foods to choose from, and the average person doesn’t put much thought into where that food originated. It’s there and available for purchase, and that’s all that matters, right?
Not exactly. When you buy food at the grocery store, you have no knowledge of how it was produced and handled, what chemicals were used to grow it, or what additives may be present in it. Scary, right? Eating local gives you much more control over what you put into your body- you can help harvest the tomatoes for your spaghetti sauce, meet the chickens that lay the eggs for your omelet, and speak directly to the farmer about how he or she grows your strawberries.
Here are some reasons to eat local!
It’s better, fresher, and healthier.
While farmers that sell to grocery stores have to account for the fact that their produce will have a long wait between harvest and purchase, farmers that sell locally don’t have to make that consideration. Local farmers harvest their crops at their peak quality of freshness, nutrition and taste. That means that locally grown vegetables and fruits have longer to ripen and don’t have to stand up to the rigors of shipping. They are often picked within 24 hours of your purchase and are not exposed to as many harmful pesticides and herbicides as mass products. The extra time to ripen also allows them to collect more nutrients from the soil and pass that extra nutrition along to you and your family.
Want to experience the full taste and nutrition of fruits and vegetables which were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute? Eat local!
From field to fork, an average dinner travels 1,500 miles.
As we mentioned before, most of the food in a supermarket has been stored for days or weeks. As well as decreasing the flavor and nutritional value, the distance between farmer and consumer also increases the food’s susceptibility to harmful contamination. Think about it: when you have no idea where your food came from, you have no idea what happened to it on the way to the store. Yikes!
Transporting all that food also uses a lot of fuel. We all know that burning fuel pollutes the environment and depletes our limited natural resources, so why not try to reduce our fuel consumption whenever possible? Buying your produce from a farmer down the road instead of one halfway across the country can save more fuel than you might think?
Want to help reduce your carbon footprint and decrease your chances of eating contaminated food? Eat local!
It helps strengthen your local economy.
Did you know that most farmers only receive about 20% of the final purchase price of their food? The other 80 percent goes to marketing, distribution, and packaging: all things that are necessary to run a large store, but not for a farmers’ market. When you buy local food, you help farmers make a living without resorting to using questionable farming practices and harmful chemicals. Additionally, your dollars stay in the community, which helps support the local economy.
Want to support our local farmers and business? Eat local!