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 Ö” notes farmer and author
Wendell Berry.

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


William C
William C5 months ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. C5 months ago


Dale O.

Love organic local veggies, grow many of my own and for small amounts of organic meat there are local farmers, eggs are not factory farm and one can avoid GMO. Iceland has a good idea, they have quite a number of greenhouses so many people can get local foods without bothering to import it from afar.

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage s4 years ago


JL A4 years ago

definition seems to vary by store

Stephanie Reap
Stephanie Reap4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Angela N.
Angela N5 years ago


Huber F.
Huber F5 years ago

Does the essential carbohydrates and solids retain in these vegetables?


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Miranda Lyon
Miranda Lyon5 years ago

We're luckily able to get a lot of veggies and egges from neighbors within 5-10 miles of us. Because we're in a remote rural area, we have to travel 45 miles to the nearest city of size where we have access to co-op, farmers markets, etc., where produce...veggies, fruits, locally grown. We're able to get 80% of all our food from these sources. (The other 20% is dried grains, beans, flour, spices, things simple not available locally produced.)