Think Globally, Eat Locally
In many communities, summer is the time of farm stands, farmers’ markets and pick-your-own everything … which makes buying locally-grown food and supporting local farmers easy (and delicious). Need another reason to go local? It helps the environment. According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the average fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to get there; buying locally-produced food means less trucking, shipping and packaging … which in turn means less carbon dioxide emissions.
- Local produce tastes better and it’s better for you.
Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly; food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two … and tastes like it.
- Local food supports local farm families.
Fewer than one million Americans now claim farming as their primary occupation (less than 1%) – and they make, on average, less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar. Buying directly from local farmers puts more money in their pocket and helps them stay in business.
- Local food preserves open space and supports a clean environment.
By supporting local agriculture, you help to protect your region’s farmland from urban sprawl and development and help preserve open spaces, natural ecosystems, and biodiversity.
For further inspiration and assistance, the Local Harvest website provides a comprehensive national directory of farmers’ markets, farm stands and other sources of locally grown food … and FoodRoutes provides tools and information for sustainable farming and local food system advocates, including mapping technology to help you find good food near you.