To eat local is to practice environmental and communal responsibility. It supports a sustainable model which began with natives of most lands and remained that way for years. Eventually, this model became lost amidst growing populations, larger demands and corporate production. However, local agriculture has found its way back into many communities due to more concern for the environment and financial strain. Eating locally outweighs global availability in several ways.
The use of fossil fuels to transport a kumquat from across the globe to your neighborhood grocery store indirectly affects everyone’s health. The carbon footprint of global delivery extends far beyond that of a local food distributor including:
- Air, sea and land pollution
- Travel congestion
- Synthetic pest and shelf life additives
- Diversion away from local, small business farms
However, cheap labor, bulk shipping rates and better technology have been major components in the competitive global market. These advancements now enable that kumquat to make it to your plate, in the middle of a snowy February, for half the price it used to. Fortunately, for the local farmer, there are several other advantages associated with local agriculture.
Because of minimal travel, locally grown food is handled less, offering advantages such as:
- Longer Ripening Periods – Enabling certain foods to gestate naturally creates a much more potent, vitamin-rich result. Synthetic ripening practices are often used at the end of global food transport to make the product ready for market. This is the case when bananas are transported dark green then chemically gassed to turn them yellow.
- Avoiding Potential Disease Causing Organisms – Food is transported by excessive human handling that can heighten the risk of disease. Also, by being packed alongside many different varieties of food from around the globe your food could possibly contract any number of dangers including parasites or worse.
Eating foods grown during each season gives you healthy advantages such as:
- Seasonal food will be at its ripened peak, enhancing its taste and nutritional value.
- Local seasonal food will be less expensive because of its seasonal availability.
- Some studies suggest that the body will actually crave certain local foods to respond to geographical climate.
Keep the Cash
Local food consumption keeps money flowing within the community rather than forked over to a global conglomerate. Money distributed within the local economy means better health for residents through beautification programs, education, business and more farming opportunities. Thriving local food farming also keeps jobs within the community.
Local Summer in Winter and Vice-Versa
Canning and jarring locally bought foods can enable you to pull out a fresh bowl of peaches in the middle of a blizzard. This can eliminate the need for imported foods when you want something out of season. It also enables the availability of fresh produce rather than reaching for something from across the globe.