1) Food grown locally tastes far better than imported produce. Yes, some vegetables might look wonky but the flavour they are bursting with surely make up for that. Locally grown food is likely to arrive on your dinner table within a few hours of being picked. The same cannot be said for those strawberries we import from Spain.
2) Not only does it taste better, local food also provides more nutrients. Farmers harvest crops at their peak making sure we get the ripest highest quality food. There is also no need to treat vegetables and fruit with chemicals or wrap them in plastic for days of transportation. Not only would you contribute to a healthier lifestyle, but you would also help the environment whilst at it.
3) Now, locally produced food comes in all shapes and sizes. This is because farmers use different varieties of crops to increase the length of harvesting cycle. These crops are not genetically modified unlike the ones being mass produced for larger retailers. This variety preserves biodiversity and ensures that species do not go extinct. Nowadays, out of thousands of apple cultivars available in the world only a few varieties make it to the big stores. Smaller farms take pride in the crops they grow and some special varieties are passed down as a family secret through generations. That is the kind of authenticity that you would never find in a supermarket.
4) Locally grown crops are safer to eat. Cattle is reared freely on luscious green pastures while crops are fertilized by the manure those animals produce. There is no waste of resources on local farms. So why not go down to a local butcher for a nutrient-packed tender steak rather than a questionable looking chicken breast full of antibiotics and growth hormones from a supermarket?
5) Local farmers and independent businesses are working hard to make it in the world where competition is so fierce. By supporting them we preserve the authenticity and quality of the services they provide. Each one of them adds a personal touch to their produce which is only characteristic of small local businesses.
6) Invest in the community you live in. Local food is produced by your neighbours living nearby trying their best to provide best quality food all year around. It is a much more pleasant experience buying from a farmer’s market or a shop while engaging in conversation and playing an active part in your local community.
7) Local food preserves open space. If you enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the countryside, think about buying local produce to save it. By keeping local farmers in business, you ensure that our beautiful land is being used for agriculture and not sold for yet another development project.
8) Buying locally helps ecosystems in your area because carefully managed farms peacefully coexist with and preserve wildlife. Hedges, ponds and meadows that farmers look after provide natural habitats for a variety of local species. The food takes less miles to reach your plate, which reduces food miles, which in turn is much better for the environment.
9) As a rule of thumb, local farms require less of your tax to operate as they provide more in tax than they take in services. They also use less resources and manage them more effectively than larger scale operations. Think about that next time you go to a supermarket.
10) Buying locally today provides for a better tomorrow. By making this small choice you are having a positive impact on so many different aspects and ensuring that there is fresh, diverse, flavoursome food available for future generations.
Joe Thomas http://allgreenpr.com
It almost goes without saying that I agree with much of what Joe has written, having posted blogs on local sourcing myself (see here, here and here.) I’m all for supporting local producers. Buy only what is in season and at its best, which will in turn encourage suppliers to plant and produce goods that sell to discerning shoppers.
However, Joe misses one critical point from a foodie perspective, namely that when you buy from local providers you have the full provenance for all your supplies. No matter where your ingredients are sourced, you should never take them for granted. The fact that they are local does not automatically mean they are better quality or produced to a higher standard, so be choosy and ask questions about everything or you may risk being fobbed off.
Please use your senses when you shop for food: in supermarkets food is typically packaged to within an inch of its life, so you can’t touch, smell or judge its ripeness or quality. If you go to local farms and markets, be sure to look and feel and choose the best produce.
This is particularly relevant for meat, since you need to know everything, right down to how they were produced, what breed, how the animals were kept, what feed they were given, how intensively they were grown, at what age they were slaughtered, how and for how long the meat was aged, how it was distributed etc. These details matter if you want to get the best, and by the very fact you ask and choose only the best produced will incentivise producers to do it right (which does not necessarily mean the most expensive way either.)