I grew up eating fresh produce and now that I have my own home I try to always buy local food when I can. Almost year round I have home or farm grown food in the house. Family or farmers markets around town are where I go first and I only occasionally buy fresh meat and produce from grocery chains. Today I wanted to share the five reasons to buy local food.
Growing up I didn’t understand the reasons to buy local food, but the practice helped me understand and appreciate fresh produce and the impact our food has on our environment.
The Reasons to Buy Local Food
There are so many more reasons to buy local food that I have listed here. Buying local food is good for people; it is good for health, and it is also good for the environment. If you are still not sure of the benefits of the local food movement, here are five great reasons to consider.
1. The Taste is Better
A store bought tomato or bushel of berries tastes nothing like one grown in your own backyard or from a local farmer. Am I right or what? Being a foodie, I appreciate taste and freshness, so I make a point to buy my produce at the market whenever I can. In fact, when I travel, I find myself wandering over to the local markets and it is a great way to eat fresh while also saving more money at the end of the trip. On my trip to Slovenia, I got a big bag of fresh cherries at a market for a few Euros and it was the perfect summer road trip snack. A lot of towns and cities around the world have large farmers markets to help local farmers sell their produce which is money in both of our pockets!
2. The Produce is Fresher
When it comes down to freshness, who is to say the food sitting in stores hasn’t been there for days under poor conditions? If you find yourself without a green thumb and a local farmers’ market, try your hand there. You will see and taste the difference immediately. Growing or buying locally ensures that your produce has been treated properly and doesn’t waste time sitting in loading trucks and shelves for who knows how long.
3. There is Less Packaging
There are times where a lot of people say that shopping at farmers’ markets and eating locally helps save the environment. But how exactly? First off, it is encouraged, if not sometimes necessary, at local markets that people bring their own bags to help reduce the use of plastic bags. I can buy the exact amount I want and put it in my own bags. This world doesn’t need anymore plastic waste. And most of the times, the vendors won’t have any kind of hazardous bags to use – they tend to sell reusable bags at most markets, if you don’t have your own!
Next, there a way less packaging that has to go around just for holding produce in place on shelves or keeping them “fresh.” Some suppliers use plastic wrap to keep insects off of fruit or to help “preserve” it – there are a ton of ways to keep food fresh, but they insist on using that more times than not. Not to mention, the food you buy locally probably didn’t have to travel as far or use semi-trucks to transport produce as grocery stores usually do. Yes, they may be brought over by trucks, but it is less of a carbon footprint than a big-rig used by supermarkets.
Here are some of my favorite products for sustainable shopping and food storage:
4. It Creates Local Jobs
Buying local also helps the local economy and rural business owners (i.e. farmers, ranchers, etc.) so they can upkeep the guarantee of fresh and healthy crops. This will aid in creating local jobs and can really help out your neighbours. These markets and local shopping is also a great way of getting the community to rally together and create a more tight-knit environment. And when you live in an area whose values are dependent on the vitality of the community, the more you will probably love and appreciate living there.
5. It is Fun!
My favorite reason for going to my farmers market (or really any farmers market!) is simply that it is so dang fun! The experience of going is nothing like what we are used to anymore in our modern world. It connects us to the farmers who are growing the produce and we are also able to talk to locals who may have insight on where to get the best cheese or bread from, too! This is especially helpful if you are in another country and need to know who has something that you just have to try or if they make a local delicacy! It really forces you to connect with others and get outside of your comfort zone if this is something you’re not used to. And I kind of think of it like the gym sometimes – I will never regret going! It is an experience every time I go and it helps me see and appreciate the effort it takes to create quality products that are here for our health and benefit.
If you haven’t been to your local farmers market, look some up near you and try this new experience. They usually happen on weekends and tend to always have something going on – whether it is a freebie for the kiddos or a deal on bouquets of flowers! Test it out and you will see and taste the difference the moment you bite into that fresh strawberry!
What are your reasons to buy local food?