There are many advantages to not buying your food from the supermarket. Eating locally grown food is better for the consumer, farmers and community. Why exactly should you buy local? Here are 8 good reasons why:
1. PROTECTS THE ENVIRONMENT
CERES developed a report in 2008 on Food Miles in Melbourne Australia. This report showed that an average shopping basket of 29 common food items traveled over 70,000kms. That is nearly two times the distance around the Earth. Just four imported items accounted for nearly 50,000kms!
This involves the significant use of fossil fuels for shipping on refrigerated trucks and rail cars, all contributing to global warming. Supporting local food systems means less energy, emissions and food miles, which is more environmentally friendly. Buying locally grown foods decreases this carbon footprint significantly.
By buying local food you’re also helping maintain open green spaces in your community. When the farmers are making enough from their produce they are less likely sell off farmland to developers, which means the landscape is preserved. The farms also in turn provide a habitat for wildlife and maintain the ecosystem.
- LESS PACKAGING
Local food uses less packaging. Buying produce from a local delivery company such as Munch Crunch Organics or your local farmers market is a no-frills process that involves less packaging. Because the produce doesn’t need to travel long distances, it is less likely to get damaged, therefore doesn’t need as much packaging.
- SUPPORTS THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
By choosing to buy food locally you are choosing to support your local economy.
The farms are a source of local jobs. The money that is spent with local farmers stays close to home and is reinvested to support farming families and the local businesses and services in your community.
Buying locally is investing in our children’s future, supports sustainable farming and Australian grown produce.
4. SUPPORTS THE FARMERS
Local food supports local farmers. The number of farmers has dwindled, mostly because the profit per dollar on food has decreased. This forces many farmers to fold to large scale agriculture operations which receive government subsidies and the business of corporate supermarkets. Local farmers also compete with growers in foreign countries that can sell their foods for a much smaller profit margin.
Buying local means more profit for the farmer and cuts out the ‘middle men’, in turn helping farmers continue to farm.
Eating local food is eating seasonally.
Even though we wish certain foods were grown year round, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased from a local farmer. They taste better than the imported ones available in the off-season, which have traveled thousands of kilometres and picked before they were ripe.
By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their most flavoursome, are most abundant and the least expensive.
- MORE NUTRITIOUS
Local food is more nutritious. Unlike supermarket produce, which has been harvested early and spent weeks in cold storage, local food has a higher nutrient value.
Once harvested, produce quickly loses nutrients, this is a process called respiration. Basically, the fruit or vegetable starts breaking down its own proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Since local produce is sold right after it’s picked, it retains more nutrients. Shipping produce can take days, whereas, locally produced produce only takes hours to reach the consumer.
- TASTES BETTER
Local food tastes better. Locally grown produce is guaranteed to be fresh. Produce that travels long distances is days older. On average, foods at a supermarket take six to seven days to arrive on the shelf. This is not including foods that are purchased ‘out of season’, which may travel many thousands of kilometers further and take even longer to arrive on grocery store shelves.
Sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality and flavour. Locally grown food is full of flavour. When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local supermarket.
- SAFER FOOD SUPPLY
Purchasing food at supermarkets is so common now and many people do not know where their food comes from, how it was grown, or what chemicals were used in the food they are eating. Consumers should be more wary of this fact.
By buying local foods the consumer is made aware of where their food comes from and how it is grown. Any time we purchase food we trust that the grower is careful and diligent in providing for our most basic need. By buying local foods there is a greater opportunity to ensure this trust.
Local food is all about the future. Supporting local farms today helps keep those farms in your community, ensuring that your children and grandchildren have access to nourishing, flavourful and abundant food. When you choose to buy locally, and make your choices known, you raise the consciousness of your family, friends, and neighbours.