Why Buy Local
There are many reasons to start supporting locally grown food and buy local. In this post, I am referring to the very foundation of the local food movement: Local farmers.
In Oklahoma, farmers were the cornerstone of society, but over the years the numbers of Oklahoma farmers have dwindled because of rising dependence of cheap and convenient food and shopping centers. The loss of farmers impact many areas such as, our health, economy and way of life.
Benefits of Local Farming
Local Food Tastes Better
It’s been said (and I agree) nothing is better than a fresh tomato just picked from the garden. My favorite, of course is peaches, but this can apply to any of your favorite produce. You have not lived until you have a peach fresh of the tree or one from Livesay Orchards in Oklahoma (Or where ever your famous peach city is).
You know why it tastes better? The fresher produce is, the more nutrients it has. The produce at the store has often been picked before it was ripe, so it can get to the store before it goes bad. Fresh produce is picked and eaten at its peak. During this time, it’s the freshest and full of nutrients, and it will also taste the best.
Local Food Supports Small Business
Supporting farmers is just like supporting any other small businesses. You’re not helping a millionaire buy their third home. Instead you’re helping them keep their way of life alive. Today’s small farmer receives less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar. When farmers sell directly to the consumer, the middleman is cut out thus producing a higher profit for the farmer.
Just like when you support other small businesses, this means the money they earn circulates throughout the local community. Large agribusinesses run the marketplace because they can afford to sell food cheaper, which makes it hard for the family farms to compete. This allows corporate farms to dominate food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
Local Food is Better for the Environment
Food sold in the US travels up to 3,000 miles to get to our homes. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), which contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Buy local food at the farmers market because it’s transported shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.
To Know Where Your Food Comes From
You know your doctor’s name, but do you know your farmer’s name? You are what you eat is more than a saying. We are finding many illnesses are caused from poor eating habits or eating things that are grown in unsustainable ways. Support a local farmer who invites you to come see their farm, sees you every Saturday knows you and wants the best for your health.
To Learn Tips, Tricks and Meal Ideas
Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy. But if you buy local from farmers passionate about their produce, you will see they have an abundance of knowledge. They have to learn to cook it a million ways when they have too many leftovers. Also, many farmers come from a long line of family farmers, so their family has also been cooking it for years. They have tons of knowledge and experience related to farming. If you’re having problems growing your tomatoes just so, ask a farmer.
To Build Connections
Would you rather get lost in the see of faces at the supermarket, strain your eyes in the artificial lights, or see the glum faces of the people who work there? Or would you rather buy local, stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day? The farmers market is a community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, or bring your children to try new things.
To Preserve Diversity
Local farms grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest. They have an array of eye-catching colors and the best flavors. Many of these are heirlooms, passed down through the generations. In the supermarket, you see a small collection of produce. The varieties are selected for the ability to ripen, withstand harvesting equipment, and the ability to have a long shelf life or tough skin that can survive long enough to get to the store. Buy local for the best flavors, vibrant colors and interesting qualities.
When foods are not in season, they are shipped from far away. This results in loss of taste and nutrients, also contributing to mileage for that meal. Buy local for the freshest, most nutrient dense and tastiest food money can buy.
Although, small farms aren’t always organic producers, they still are generally safer than foods at the supermarket. When you hear about E. Coli outbreaks they are generally from large industrial settings. The food in these settings have passed through many machines and hands before finally reaching the store. When you buy local, your food supply chain is separate from those of the conventional farmers. So when there is an outbreak, your food supply chain is safe.
Local Food is About the Future
When you buy local food today, it ensures farms in your community tomorrow and future generations. These farms will provide nourishing, flavorful and abundant food. Learn more about supporting local farmers.
Find Local Food
Stay tuned for 7 ways to support the local food system and buy local.
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