10 Reasons to Support Locally Grown Food
There are many different definitions of local as it has not been officially defined; some say that eating local means consuming foods that were produced within 100-250 miles of their home, or within their home state. The most sustainable way of eating local is by buying directly from the farm itself as with a farmer’s market, community supported agriculture (CSA), or a grocery home delivery service. Regardless of how it is defined, eating local has some solid benefits.
1. Crops are grown with care and integrity
Farmers who grow local food produce their crops with thoughtfulness and integrity. The local farms that produce organic foods are both helping the environment and providing foods that are nutrient-dense and safe. Local farmers take pride in their product, and it shows.
2. Buying locally supports small businesses
It is no mystery that buying a locally made product or locally grown food would support the small business that provides the products. Buying locally helps to support the local economy, which has numerous benefits. One of which is that it supplies jobs, and furthermore the employees of organic farms know that they are safe from the hazards of conventional farms.
3. Support local families
The difference between the profits of local farms and national farms is quite noticeable. Local farms enjoy the majority of the profit that comes directly from the sales of their products, while other farmers sometimes get below 20% of the profits. Buying local supports these families who own and work on the farms.
4. Helps create local community
The ability to talk to a farmer face to face and to ask questions and share stories has a great impact, it might even surprise you! Buying local foods nurtures the community because it connects people to one another.
5. Confidence in your food source
By talking with farmers we are able to develop relationships and educate ourselves about the source of our food. Farmers are happy to answer questions to teach us more about where our food is coming from. This way you can be familiar with their growing practices and have confidence that you are eating truly organic foods.
6. Local food is healthier
Local food is the freshest food as it is picked closer to the source of its consumption. Because of this it retains more nutrients as compared to food from a supermarket, which can travel more than 1500 miles before landing on your plate. Local food also is seasonal, so you know that you are eating fruits and vegetables during the time of year that they were meant to be grown and consumed (you probably won’t be eating strawberries in the winter or pumpkin in the summer). Local food can also help with seasonal allergies, especially when consuming locally produced honey.
7. Food security
The availability of local food ensures that there would be food available in times of crisis, such as a blackout or a national food shortage in supermarkets. In 1996, the World Food Summit defined the existence of food security as following: “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life,” and this is something that locally produced food supports. This is especially true when these sources are able to take food stamps.
8. Less environmental impact
Local food has to travel less than conventional food, plus organic farms don’t use pesticides, which pollute our soil and water. This decreases our carbon footprint and gives local food the chance to retain its nutrients on the short journey to our plate.
9. Food safety
Locally grown food is safer than conventional food because it goes through fewer stops in the transportation process. This equals fewer opportunities for contamination thus providing safer food for the public.
10. Benefits the environment and wildlife
Locally grown food results in healthier soil, plus it protects our water sources. These are only two ways that local farming helps the environment. In addition, our local farms offer a natural safe haven for local wildlife, and more diverse pollination for local honeybees.