It seems like the hot debate around food, and where to get your food, resides mainly in two camps: Buying organic, or buying non-organic. However, I want to shed light on the other option, the best option there is. You see, this isn’t a cry to, “Buy 100% organic everything!’, nor is it a challenge to purge your home of foods that aren’t organic. The purpose of this post is to show y’all why it pays to buy your produce from your local farmer. You’ll learn the top five reasons you should, as well as some myths surrounding local farmers markets that will be dispelled within the text. Let’s get to the reasons.
1. You Help Stimulate the Local Economy
One of these days I am going to write more about finances and money, and this first reason fits that mold
perfectly. Whenever you turn on the news all you hear about is, “national economy”, but what do all the TV mongors forget? The local economy. The national economy wouldn’t be possible if millions of local economies weren’t running like steamengines. So, what’s the best way to insure that your local economy keeps growing? Buying local! And there isn’t a better way to do that than to support your local farmers. According to PayScale.com, the average salary for a US Farmer is around $33,000. Buying local from local farmers gives the farmer more money to grow his farm, which in return gives them the ability to produce more food for more people in the local economy. Can you begin to see the snowball effect buying local has in terms of a purely economical standpoint? The dividends are huge!
2. Buying Local Helps Save the Environment
Here’s a crazy stat for you: According to CUESA.org, food in America takes an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate for dinner. 1,500 miles. Just to put it into context for you, 1,500 miles is the equivalent of 26,400 football fields lined up one after another. That’s a lot of travel for your food! That happens every single day across millions of homes in America. But here’s the even crazier part: If you buy local, you are cutting the distance your food travels to your plate by nearly 95%. 95%! Instead of miles, the track becomes single digit miles, even feet from the far to your door. What kind of positive repercussions does this have on the environment?
For starters cutting down on the 1,500 miles it takes food to get to your plate would do amazing things in terms of saving and preserving our fossil fuels. Most of the trucks that deliver food across America use diesel. The less these diesel trucks have to travel, the fewer the pollution emissions they release, thus helping the atmosphere. Another major player in the saving of our environment comes from the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers on large scale farms.
Pesticides and chemical fertilizers damage and kill produce plants. To make a long story short, this is how they work: Large scale farmers overdose their plants with pesticides to make sure that the bugs die and don’t eat the plants. Yet these pesticides still end up on the food that you and I consume! This in turn creates new produce plants that become resistant to the pesticides and drugs, so farmers have to keep using more and more toxic doses to get the same result. You can begin to see this ugly snowball effect.
Here’s how you can change it: Buy local. Almost all local farmers use organic processes that do not involve pesticides, chemicals, or other growth enhancing agents. Sunshine, water, and good soil is what you will find at these organic, small town farms.
3. Buying Local Means Buying at Peak Season
When you shop at your local supermarket, you can get nearly all types of fruits year round, 365 days, 7 days a week. In the real world of agriculture, this isn’t the case. Strawberries don’t grow in the winter, yet you can still buy them “fresh” in the supermarket. So what gives? This third reason ties into the second reason. The reason you
can buy “fresh” produce year round, regardless of the season, is because you’re buying from farms that are miles and miles and miles away. When you buy local produce, you’re buying what’s in season; the produce’s “prime time”. Instead of using chemical gasses to expedite the ripening process, each piece of produce that you pick from your local farmer is guaranteed to be the freshest that produce will be. When you cut down on the mileage it takes your food to get to your plate, you don’t have to chemically ripen the food, let nature do it. Trust me, use your gut test on this reason. Food just tastes better when you buy from a local farmer. It just does.
4. Ensure Humane Animal Treatment
If you’re reading this and you haven’t watched the documentary Food Inc., I would be totally fine with you exiting this blog post to go on Netflix and watch it right now. Once you see what the giant food companies (such as Perdue Farms, etc.) do with their animals and how they treat them, you will be a) appauled, and b) may consider going vegan for a week or two. The second one is a stretch, cause I would never give up bacon … Anyways, when you buy from a local farmer, this can also include meats. Buying local means that the farmer most likely cares for each and every one of his livestock. To the local farmer, a cow isn’t a serial number with an expiration date. To them it’s a gift, a living being that has lived out its life and at the end, is being used to provide for families and loved ones. When you buy your meats from supermarkets, you’re buying from companies that treat their animals like serial numbers. Buying local has a tremendous impact on the quality of life that cow or that chicken had that you’re eating. Who knew that buying from a local farmer could have such philanthropic positive consequences?
5. You Just Feel Good About Yourself
This last reason is a very simple one. When you buy from a local farmer, you just feel better about the decision you made. It’s a combination of putting a face to the food that you bought. It’s a feeling of knowing exactly where
your food comes from, and knowing that your food was treated with respect and cared for, not just processed like a commodity on a factory line.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whom you buy from. I’m not telling you to buy every single item of food from your local farmer. What I am telling you is to try it out. If nothing else, start by buying your vegetables from your farmer, and then progress to your meats. You’ll find that there are local farmers all around you with a quick Google search. Give it a try.
In The Comments Below, What Does It Mean To You To Buy Local?