Top Reasons to Eat Local and Buy Local
There are many reasons to eat local food and buy local whenever possible, both economically and nutritionally.
There is a sign posted prominently at one of my local farmers markets. It reads:
I love that sign. It reminds me of one of the fundamental reasons I want to eat locally grown food. Our farming community is shrinking.
Living in an area that can grow most of the produce I want to consume, with the exception of citrus fruits and exotic fruits, why not first support the hard working farmers of our country? Farmers and local farms are truly the backbone of the country, and not just my country, but all countries.
Aren't the traditional foods grown in your country the ones you grew up with? Are they still produced locally or do you find yourself more and more shopping in big-box grocery stores with "imported from" signs above what used to be local produce?
Here are what I think are the top reasons to buy local and eat local food whenever possible:
Supporting the local food movement and buying local whenever possible simply ensures more jobs in your area.
Every dollar spent locally not only helps to ensure the continuation of the farming community and farm related jobs in your area. It ripples out into many areas. A strongly supported "eat local" community encourages other local businesses. Farmers who have a successful farming business hire more people, plus they buy machinery, feed, seeds and supplies from local vendors. Other businesses start to crop up - bakers use local ingredients in their recipes, cheese making uses local milk.
Research recently conducted in Britain looked at how much of the dollars spent at local food businesses stayed within the local economy, plus how much of that money was reinvested into the community. They found that the value was almost twice the amount of that same dollar spent at a large supermarket chain. So making the effort to buy local really does improve the lives of the people around you and your community in general, in ways we don't often realize.
Local food simply tastes better. When you shop at a local farmers market, that produce is often picked within 24 hours of being eaten at your family table. It has had an opportunity to ripen before it is picked, which is the way is it meant to be eaten. That is why a fresh summer peach drips lovely sweet juice as you eat it and a peach you get in the winter is hard and dry.
Overall, which would you enjoy most?
This is a huge factor in a choice to eat local and buy local as much as possible. You will be helping to save our world.
Obviously the greater a food travels from field to table, the more energy is used in transportation and storage. Local food takes very little energy to get from the field to the consumer, so if more people would choose to eat local it would drastically reduces the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions (GHEs) in the air.
We know that food loses nutritional value the longer the time from picking to eating. It just makes sense then that food that travels by truck for thousands and thousands of miles will need to be picked before it reaches it flavor and nutritional peak, plus will lose some of its nutritional value during the voyage.
The amount of Vitamin C in a freshly picked and fully ripe tomato may be vastly different than one that was picked before it matured and transported for several days by truck (even refrigerated truck) to its ultimate destination and consumption.
When you eat local food you are eating food that is grown or raised adhering to local health, environmental and agricultural regulations and standards. These are regulations that we can review if we wish. For many, that increases the comfort level about the safety of the food that we are eating when we eat local.
You will meet lots of like minded people at your local farmer's market, and you often get to speak with the actual producers of your food - the farmers themselves. Try doing that at your local supermarket.
If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has an abundance of farm stands, a weekend drive through the country to pick up fresh ripe fruits and vegetables is a great family outing. Enjoy the scenery, spend time outdoors and support your local food producers. It's a win all around.
The global food system we have developed discourages a large number of varieties of any fruit or vegetable for several reasons. In a mass market agricultural system it is easier and more cost effective to just produce a small number of varieties of tomatoes or peaches for example.
Most varieties of fruits and vegetables found in our supermarkets today were chosen first primarily for yield (how many pounds or bushels, can be harvested per acre of land it is grown on) and its ability to withstand transportation over long distances.
However, when local food producers are supported they will tend to plant and supply to the market a wider variety of species of foods. When farmers have a strong local market for their produce they often choose to grow more varieties of a particular food product. They may grow heirloom tomatoes or strains of apples you seldom see on large grocery store shelves.
That wider selection of produce is a positive for a number of reasons, including more distinctive and fantastic tastes for our palettes.
When we eat local food we are far less concerned about the political status or stability of a country (from a food source perspective at least). Worried that some organization may contaminate the supply of a particular food? If you eat local, the threat is minimal.
There is a more spiritual reason to eat local food too and to me this is at least as important as the reasons stated above.
Edgar Cayce was a huge supporter of eating local many decades ago. If you are not familiar with Edgar Cayce, he was a world renowned psychic and some would say prophet, often called "the Sleeping Prophet", who died in the 1940's. Many of his predictions about the world have come true. He also gave many readings on health, diet and natural remedies for hundreds of ailments.
Cayce felt that the earth a food is grown in has a unique vibration and the food that is grown in that soil holds that vibration. For optimal balance of mind, body spirit, Cayce felt we should eat local food because we are surrounded by that same local earth vibration, so locally grown food nourishes us more on both a physical and spiritual level.
Cayce felt that eating local food and a more seasonally based diet actually contributes to the movement of our bodies to a higher vibration.
All in all there are many reasons to eat local and buy local food as much as we can.
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