10 Reasons to Buy Local Food
Written by Walker Miller, owner and operator of The Happy Berry
Supporter of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
- Food security. International food trade has tripled in the last 40 years and the tonnage increased four fold, while population has only doubled. Local growers are disappearing and with them the knowledge of how to grow food in a safe and sustainable manner. If there were to be a catastrophe that crippled transportation and long term storage there would be no local food source. Buying local food supports the "Local Food Shed."
- Local food conserves energy and is environmentally friendly. Food typically travels 1500 to 2400 miles. It has been called "Food Sprawl." A basic diet using imported food gobbles four times the energy and generates 4 times the green house gas emissions over and equivalent diet from local sources.
- Local food preserves local communities. Long distance food displaces local cuisines; adapted varieties, local agriculture and farmers who can successfully grow food.
- Local food improves community, municipal and county balance of payments. Money spent on local produce stays in the community longer, creating jobs and raising incomes vs. converting the farms to subdivisions and asphalt.
- Local food often costs less because of transportation costs, storage costs and no middlemen.
- Local agriculture provides environmental services of cleaning the air, water, providing adsorptive surfaces for storm water, providing wild life habitat, and recreational opportunities.
- Local food is sustainable. Local growers operate with a triple bottom line of economic, environmental and social considerations, thus they are sustainable. This is opposed to the industrial farm producing a very limited number of commodities answering only to the economic bottom line forcing government to regulate quality, appearance and inventory. These regulations cost dollars to enforce.
- Local food is fresh—usually just hours from the field—versus modified atmosphere storage, refrigeration, treated with chlorine to sanitize or processed with corn syrup instead of natural or real sugar. Corn syrup doesn’t satisfy desire for sweetness hence you eat more calories.
- Local food supports economic & business diversity such as slaughterhouses, diaries, canneries, frozen food lockers and commercial kitchens. This diversity enhances the economic landscape as opposed to national conglomerates that move profits out of the community and provide only service industry wages.
- Local food returns control of what you eat back to the consumer and prevents the destruction of distant ecosystems and communities, which are not regulated to prevent environmental and social damage.