3. Local Food Promotes Community
A lot of good comes from knowing your farmer and other producers and interacting with them face-to-face. It promotes a sense of community, which is invaluable. But it also promotes a sense of shared responsibility. For the consumer, there’s a responsibility to understand where her food comes from and what goes into growing and making it and the more she understands, the more she’ll want to support her farmer. For the farmer, the responsibility is to grow the best food he can using the best practices possible. It’s a win-win scenario all around.
4. Local Food Promotes the Local Economy
Just as the consumer chooses to buy from a local farm rather than a big-box store, so the farmer is more likely to use the money he earns at local businesses. Brian Halweil, another panelist and author of “Eat Here, Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket,” writes that a study by the New Economics Foundation in London found that “a pound (or dollar, peso, or rupee) spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy… When these businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.”
5. Because Local Food May Be More Nutritious
Or it may not be. Regardless, as many advocates of organic food argued during the Stanford study controversy, the fact that local food may be more nutritious than industrial food isn’t the main point of eating it anyway. And in any case, as Halweil said at the panel discussion, the science to support that hypothesis is “murky.”
Some studies do suggest that local food may have advantages, though. For example, it typically isn’t transported or stored for as long a period of time, during which nutrients may degrade. Also, older cultivars of some plants are higher in micronutrients than newer cultivars that have been selected for high yields in industrial agriculture.
What are your reasons for buying local food? What would it take to convince people you know to “go local”?
Photos Courtesy of Thinkstock
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