You hear the phrase “buy local” all the time, but do you know exactly why it’s important?
Local has become a big buzzword when it comes to food. Twenty years ago most people probably didn’t give much thought to exactly where their lettuce was pulled from the ground. But these days consumers are much more tuned-in to the many environmental and health concerns that are facing us and we know that local=GOOD!
Maybe you keep hearing all the hype about local and are not really quite sure what it means, or maybe you want to help educate your friends and family about the benefits, so here are the top ten reasons to buy local food.
- Locally grown food tastes better. Over time sugars turn to starches and plant cells shrink causing produce to lose its taste and vitality. Because local produce hasn’t traveled a great distance it’s fresher and hasn’t lost its flavor.
- Local produce is better for you. Studies have shown that produce loses nutrients over time. Often canned or frozen produce that has been processed immediately after harvest is more nutritious than old produce that has been languishing in trucks for a week. If your produce was grown down the street from you and was picked yesterday, you’re getting more nutrition.
- Local food preserves genetic diversity. In our industrial agriculture system species of produce are chosen so that they can withstand the harvesting equipment, the stress of shipping, and for their ability to ripen simultaneously and have a long shelf life. Very few hybrid varieties of fruits and veggies can do this. Local farms can grown a wide variety of produce in order to lengthen their growing season and often use heirloom seeds that are delicious and genetically diverse.
- GMO free. Genetically modified seeds are currently licensed to huge factory farms. Small, local farms generally do not have access to GMO seeds and chances are highly likely that they wouldn’t want to use them anyway.
- Local food supports local families. Keeping money in our local economy is always a good thing. And besides that, family farms are becoming an endangered species. Farmers get less than 10 cents on the retail dollar, so buying at a local farmers market directly from the farm means that they get to keep their hard-earned money.
Check out our blog tomorrow for the remaining five reasons you should buy local.