Local Food is Better for the Environment and for Us. Most food travels over 1,500 miles from farm to plate. This means that gas-guzzling transportation and the refrigeration it takes to keep that food “fresh” pollutes the environment. Less distance to travel means less pollution. It also means less risk of contamination because local food is handled less. Also, when pastures and farms are prioritized, the lands stays open rather than being used by extra development.
Local Food Supports the Local Economy and Community. Money spent on local fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and other food products stays local instead of being sent out of city, state, or even country. Plus more of that money spent goes directly to the farmers since there are fewer middle men. And eating locally grown foods means that you are more connected to the people who grow it. “Knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.” (Eat Local Challenge.)
Local Food Creates Variety. When restaurants commit to using local ingredients, selections change seasonally. This means there’s always something new to try. And the same can be said about meals prepared in home kitchens too. Trying new things is a good thing.
Local Food is Sometimes Cheaper*. When you eat food that is in season and doesn’t need to be transported, the cost is cut dramatically. Last week, I bought local tomatoes for $1.59/lb at the Charleston Farmers Market. Comparable tomatoes are $2.99/lb at the grocery store for a non local variety. *I realize this isn’t always the case, and I have paid more for local meat and can’t quite rationalize the cost of local milk. But the veggies in my CSA are organic and a fraction of what I would pay at the grocery for the same produce.
Local Food is Fresher and Tastes Better. The shorter the distance between the farm and consumers’ kitchens, the fresher the food will be. Compare any local produce with something that has to travel in from Central America. Which do you think was picked first? Plus, local farmers know which foods thrive in our local environment, meaning the food wouldn’t always look nice on a grocery store display, but it sure tastes good.