Join the Local Food Revolution!
Most of us don’t think much about the produce we buy in the grocery store where it was grown or the distribution system that got it there. But most fruit and vegetables will travel farther this year than you will - an average of 1500 miles from farm to plate.
Is all this moving about of food good for you? Not really. And it isn’t good for the long-term health of our planet either. With every meal you eat you can choose to do something good for yourself, your family and the environment Buy Local. Here are a few reasons why:
- Cost. The way food is produced and the way we eat create huge costs that are not reflected in our food bills. Some are actual dollar amounts (subsidies and cleanup costs that we pay for in taxes); some are damage to the environment (pollution and loss of wildlife habitat); some are loss of quality of life (tasteless food, loss of the pleasure of preparing food and eating together); and some are health issues (obesity, diseases, poor nutrition, contaminated food). When these costs are taken into account, as they should be, locally grown foods are seen clearly for the value they are, even if they cost a few pennies more.
- Environmental Protection. Buying food that's grown locally avoids shipping it and the pollution that transportation causes. Small local farmers are less likely to use growing methods that result in soil erosion, pesticide contamination of soil, air, and water and the elimination of planetary biodiversity.
- Energy Conservation. Buying locally grown foods decreases dependence on petroleum, a nonrenewable energy source. One fifth of all petroleum now used in the United States is used in Agriculture.
- Variety. Small farmers selling locally are not limited to the few varieties that are bred for long distance shipping, high yields, and shelf life. Often they raise and sell wonderful and unusual varieties you will never find on supermarket shelves.
- Regional Economic Health. Buying locally grown food keeps money within the community. This contributes to the health of all sectors of the local economy, increasing the local quality of life.
- Peace of Mind. Eighty percent of American adults say they are concerned about the safety of the food they eat. They worry about residues of pesticides and fungicides. The only way to be certain of how your food is being produced is to ask. Talk to your local farmer and find out about their practices.
- Nutrition. Nutritional value declines, often dramatically, as time passes after harvest. Because locally grown produce is freshest, it is more nutritionally complete.
- Freshness. Locally grown organic fruits and vegetables are usually harvested within 24 hours of being purchased by the consumer. Produce from across the country or across the world can’t be as fresh.
- Taste. Local food picked and eaten at the height of freshness tastes better.