Shopping for your food locally has a number of benefits. These are just 10 reasons you should buy local food:
Local food protects the future
It’s quite the statement, I know, but it’s true. Local food protects future generations. Buy buying local food, you promote local farmers to do the work they do. If farms leave your area because they can’t afford to keep going, that could leave future generations in a pinch if there were to ever be a large-scale disaster of some sort. Without the ability to grow food locally, they could be in trouble.
Local food is easier on the environment
Well-managed, organic family farms are better for the environment than enormous monoculture farms that use pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers. Smaller “microfarms” are more likely to grow a wide array of plants, contributing to local biodiversity and helping wildlife in the process.
Local food keeps your taxes low
Wild, right? Here’s how it works: for every dollar you spend in taxes, about $1.17 is spent on services. Not exactly sustainable, right? But get this: of every dollar raised for taxes on farms, only about 34 cents is spent on services. Places like farms require fewer services than cities. Thus having local farms around keeps your taxes low.
Local farms stymie urban development
Farms make sure that we have nice, wide tracts of land that are open and undeveloped. Farms keep our cities from expanding too far, too fast, choking out the land.
Local good builds a tighter community
Knowing your farmer and shopping alongside your neighbors builds a tighter, closer community. The connection between the consumer and their farmer has been broken with the rise of big agribusiness. Building a relationship with the people from whom you buy food is a critical step in developing strong, local connections.
Buying local food keeps your money in your community
This goes for buying anything local. When you buy local food (or any product or service), your money tends to stay invested in your community. When you shop at big, corporate establishments, a larger chunk of your dollar ends up leaving, going elsewhere in the country. Spending money on local food and other products promotes a strong economy at home.
Local food promotes genetic diversity
Local farms, unlike other huge farms, grow a wide variety of foods with farmers looking for the best color and flavor, not just what will yield the most the quickest. Many larger farms simply select food that grows and ripens quickly. Local farms help preserve genetic diversity in our food system.
Local food is often GMO-free
We could argue for the rest of our lives whether or not GMOs are safe, and I personally don’t think that’s the right argument. The danger with GMOs is that, when a corporation genetically modifies food, they’re able to patent it and own it. This leaves the door open for biotech companies to force out heirloom seeds and make it so farmers can only grow their crops. It may sound like a bad political thriller, but biotech companies are already trying to influence politicians around the world to ban heirloom seeds.
So when you buy local, non-GMO foods, you’re promoting more farmers to do the same.
Local produce is better for you
A tomato ripened on the vine just a few miles from your home is a lot better for you than a tomato ripened in a truck in transit from 1,000 kilometers away. A lot of the time, fruits and vegetables are picked before ripe and then ripened in abnormal conditions. This isn’t really the healthiest for you.
Local food is tastier
I can’t explain this one. You’ll just have to hit up your local farmers market to see for yourself.