Support your local economy
Money you spend on foods grown and items produced locally goes further because it helps people to stay in communities, and grow their businesses. As they grow they will need to employ more local people and they will also buy from local suppliers further increasing the value of your dollar. No middle-men means that farmers get more of what you pay for the foods, which is fair when they are putting in all the work too. In many cases, it gives you access to a farm where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture. Relationships built on understanding and trust can thrive.
You can try something new
Farmers enjoy food, and they are enjoying being creative with their produce to bring you new flavours. Local crafts and baking will be different from what is available at the big box store. Local foods are interesting, they are carefully made by people who love food. And their enthusiasm passes to you, which is exciting for everyone.
So fresh its exciting
Fresh produce often loses nutrients quickly. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some “fresh” produce that has been on the truck or supermarket shelf for a week. What happens is that, from the moment it’s picked, the sugars in produce begins to turn to starch and in a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality. So freshest is best for flavour.
Reduce food miles
Food miles are clocked up when food travels and you don’t want to collect these because they add up to an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Research shows that when you choose to buy locally produced foods from a farm shop or farmers’ market you reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions associated with distribution by 99.8%. Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavour. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles.
Unnecessary food packaging accounts for a high proportion of waste in both costs and materials. Buy direct from the farm and from farmers’ markets and you buy less paper, cardboard and plastic. Bring your own bags, containers and return your jars and there will be no packaging at all!
Reduce food waste - not just yours but the farmer’s too
A proportion of food grown for the supermarkets is rejected because it’s the ‘wrong’ size or shape for example, or may simply not have the right colour. It’s perfectly good food! Farmers selling local foods offer nothing but the best and will include large and small and irregular shapes because that’s how nature does things. Enjoy the difference and have fun!
Local Food Preserves Genetic Diversity and is GMO-free
In the modern industrial agricultural system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment; for a tough skin that can survive packing and shipping; and for an ability to have a long shelf life in the store. Only a handful of hybrid varieties of each fruit and vegetable meet those rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest, an array of eye-catching colors, and the best flavours. Many varieties are heirlooms, passed down for generations. These old varieties contain genetic material from hundreds of years of human selection; they may someday provide the genes needed to create varieties that will thrive in a changing climate. Although biotechnology companies have been trying to commercialize genetically modified fruits and vegetables, they are currently licensing them only to large factory-style farms. Local farmers don’t have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn’t use it even if they could.