Food is a need that we all have in common. It is a huge segment of the economy, and making eco-friendly food choices reduces your impact on the environment, improves the quality of your food, and protects your health. Buying local produce is an essential activity if you want to switch your diet to eco-friendly food.
You have likely heard more than once that you should buy local food. Local is so entwined with the concept of eco-friendly because local produce by its very proximity to you means that less fuel was used to bring it to you. Local Food Market Most of the food at a supermarket has been grown and processed very far from you, often in a different state. For example, the bulk of the produce in any U.S. supermarket comes from California, Arizona, and Florida. And, depending on the season, a large portion also comes from other countries like Mexico, Chile, and South Africa. All of this shipping of food accounts for vast amounts of fuel consumption and global warming pollution. Buying local produces reduces this pollution.
When you buy local produce you also have a greater opportunity to know the agricultural practices used to produce the food. You can ask the farmer if pesticides and other chemicals were used. Armed with this information you can support growers who avoid toxic agriculture and therefore reduce your exposure to the many agricultural chemicals widely used. You can of course look for farmers with organic certifications, which is great, but keep in mind that farmers who advertise their local produce as simply not having been sprayed with chemicals are also providing quality food. Their produce is still an eco-friendly food choice because of the absence of toxic agricultural chemicals and the fact that it is growing close to you, even if it lacks an organic certification.
How do you find local produce?
1. Farmers’ markets – These are becoming increasingly prevalent in communities large and small as the public seeks fresh local produce. At a farmers’ market you’ll be able to meet the farmers and ask questions. This will help you find the food that is the safest and freshest to eat.
2. Farms – More farmers are establishing direct-to-consumer business models. This farm-to-table approach lets farmers get retail price points, cut out wholesalers, and improve their per acre profit margins. Some of the farmers you find at farmers’ markets will also have retail hours at their farms or sell by appointment. Another type of farm to look for is a “U-pick” farm. You can get very good prices if you do the picking and you’ll never have fresher local produce.
3. Roadside stands – These pop up during the growing season in just about every region. Stop in and buy some local produce.
4. Check your local grocery store – Some small grocery stores and even supermarkets are specifically offering locally grown foods due to customer demand. Look over the selection at your supermarket and make the eco-friendly choices. Ask the manager to stock from local growers.
When you buy local produce you are making one of the easiest eco-friendly choices available to most people. Additionally you are strengthening your local food economy. The more you buy local produce, then the more growers will profit from your choice. Local growers will also be able to earn a better living and more consumers will have access to food that has a lower pollution burden. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that is both ecologically and economically supportive.