How Do We Define Local for Produce?
“We should be producing the fullest variety of foods to be
consumed locally, in the countryside itself and in nearby towns
and cities: meats, grains, table vegetables, fruits and nuts,
dairy products, poultry and egg …” notes farmer and author
Almost all environmentalists are in agreement
that eating local, seasonal food saves energy from transporting
food from many miles away and needing less refrigeration, and
supports local farms.
This is all well and good, but how should we define local?
The average mouthful of food travels 1,200 miles from farm to factory to warehouse to supermarket to our plates. Much of it comes from countries many more thousands of miles away. The United States is the largest food importer in the world.
The most commonsense principle to follow is that the fewer miles the food travels from the farm to your table, the better.
Calculate the distance it takes to get the food to you, and choose the closest producers. Your town is closer than the far reaches of your state, for example; your state is closer than a farm two states over; if you leave in the East, Florida is closer than California; if you live in the state of Washington, Florida is closer than Brazil, and so forth. No matter where you live, search out local farmers’ markets whenever possible. Best of all, try starting a garden!
By Annie B. Bond