Seven Reasons to Buy Local Produce
- Local food tastes better. Most likely it was picked in the last couple of days, which makes it crisp and flavorful. Produce that travels long distances is older. Sugars turn to starches, plant cell shrink and produce loses its vitality and flavor.
- Local food is more nutritious. Once harvested, produce quickly loses nutrients. Since local produce is sold right after it’s picked, it retains more nutrients.
- Local food preserves genetic diversity. Commercial farms grow a small number of hybrid produce that are able to withstand the rigors of harvesting, packing, shipping and storage. This leaves little genetic diversity in the food supply. By contrast, family farms grow a huge number of varieties to extend their growing season, provide eye-catching colors and great flavor. Many varieties are heirlooms passed down through generations because of their excellent flavor. These older varieties contain the genetic structure of hundreds of years of human selection and provide the diversity needed to thrive in a changing climate.
- Local food supports local farmers. The American family farmer is a vanishing breed. There are less than 1 million people who claim farming as a primary occupation. Why? Because it’s hard to make a living: family farmers get less than 10 cents of every retail food dollar. By buying locally, the middleman disappears and the farmer gets full retail price, helping farmers continue to farm.
- Local food preserves open space. As you enjoy visits to the country to see lush fields of crops and meadows of wildflowers, remember that our treasured agricultural landscape survives only when farms are financially viable. By spending your money on locally grown food, you’re increasing the value of the land to the farmer and making development less likely.
- Local food supports the environment and benefits wildlife.Family farmers are good stewards of the land – they respect and value fertile soil and clean water. And their farms provide the files, meadows, forests and ponds that are the habitat for many beloved and important species of wildlife.
- Local food is about the future.Supporting local farms today keep those farms in your community, ensuring your children and grandchildren have access to nourishing and flavorful food. When you choose to buy locally, and make your choices known, you raise the consciousness of your family, friends and neighbors.