By Nathan, on May 20th, 2011
“Eat Locally.” It seems that this message is everywhere lately. We are saying this too. But why bother?
It is actually simpler and more inexpensive than it seems. Here are some reasons why eating local is better:
- The food is closer and is more likely to be organic and fresh. Fewer preservatives and fruit can ripen on the tree instead of warehouses, allowing for better, more intense flavor.
- You are keeping your dollar in your local economy. By spending locally, you support jobs, schools, fair farming practices and wages, and community functions.
- Lower pollution and greenhouse gasses. Local food has a significantly shorter distance to travel, normally less than 30 miles, before it reaches your pantry. Shorter distances equal less fuel consumption and emissions.
- No middlemen or people in some distant state or country who profit from the food. Often it is the farmer/business owner/artisan/apiarist themselves who are selling you your food. Who knows more about the food being sold than the person who produced it? And often this can mean a discount to you as well. Higher quality food for a better price.
- More humane, natural meat. Smaller ranches and farms often mean naturally raised, taken-care-of livestock. Fed the food that the animal was meant to eat. Often, you can buy a share of a cow or a whole chicken, pig, or lamb. Have it raised (and eventually slaughtered) in an organic, natural way and delivered directly to you.
Many communities have farmers markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), ASCs (Agriculture Supported Communities) and co-op markets. Search them out.
Farmer’s Markets are local markets consisting of booths at which local food producers and sometimes artisans sell their food, produce, and wares to customers. These are often community run and are nominally local vendors and farmers.
Community Supported Agriculture is a model where you can buy shares of a farm and then the seasonal harvests are delivered to you on a weekly or monthly basis. Many CSAs also affiliate with or are ranchers, egg farms and dairy farmers to bring these things to you easier. They are one hundred percent supported by the community.
Agriculture Supported Communities are neighborhoods, communities, apartment complexes, etc. that plant a community lot or garden area together and share the produce with each other. It is quite popular in developing urban neighborhoods, but the idea is growing beyond into the suburbs and smaller cities. This is a fabulous way to get to know your neighbors and get affordable, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Eating locally is an easy way to get flavorful, healthy food and support your community at the same time.