Have you noticed that grocery stores are now making it a priority to tell you whether or not their produce is locally grown or from a thousand miles away? Why would it matter? Are there really benefits of purchasing locally produced products?
There are! In fact, numerous.
Let’s begin. Thousands of years ago we had no choice of where to get our food. We were forced to choose the plants and animals that lived nearby. These animals and plants could survive optimally in that particular environment. When we ate the foods provided from our immediate environment we also gained the fuel to survive in that area. The earth provides us with certain foods based on the specific seasons and environments. We are provided with squash and legumes in the winter to promote warmth and comfort, while watery fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe produce a cooling effect in the summer. The vitamins and minerals found in these foods help keep illness at bay during these specific times of the year. In more tropical areas, it is best to consume tropical fruits and vegetables, while in arctic areas it is better to consume more fats and hearty foods. Mother nature knew what she was doing when she placed specific plants in certain area; she was giving us the tools to thrive in our habitat.
Purchase locally grown foods and you will save money and reduce the transportation pollution. Did you know that most products must be transported thousands of miles across the world to be sold at your supermarket? When you buy locally, less oil is used to transport that product to your local store. Buy locally and reduce your ecological footprint.
Pesticides and preservatives are hard to avoid these days. Most food companies drench your food in them in order to extend the life of their products. Farmers spray produce with pesticides so that they will grow faster. Then, they gather the produce before it is fully ripe to ensure adequate shelf-life remains at the time of delivery. There is no reason to pick produce before its prime in order to arrive in your area with adequate life left when you have the same fruits and vegetables in your own backyard. Often, locally grown produce is grown without the use of pesticides. Read labels carefully and shop directly at farmers markets where you have the ability to talk to the farmers and their harvesters first hand. Not only are less pesticides better for you but they are better for the environment. Using less pesticides allows the ecosystem to thrive because pesticides used incorrectly are dangerous. Take simple steps to save your environment and purchase locally.
Food corporations transport loads of produce across the world daily. When we purchase foods that are grown in other countries we are taking food away from the people that reside there and we are consuming the foods that do not complement our environments. There are laws in foreign countries that keep locally grown produce out of the of the hands of the locals that live there. For example, companies purchase foreign land to grow produce that will exported, keeping the locals from benefiting from the valuable land. It is my hope that eventually the shift of purchasing and producing locally, will force big corporations to sell the products to the local people.
When you buy locally you are supporting your areas farmers. You are giving them a chance to continue their farm and provide for their family, while encouraging other farmers to stick to sustainable practices. We need more farmers in this world growing and living more sustainable lives so that we have food left for future generations. Large corporate farms often use harmful conventional practices that will cause major destruction in our food supply and our environment.
When you purchase local products you are taking a stand and raising your voice to let the food companies know you would rather see more local produce. Know that you can make a difference in both the health of yourself, your family and the people around you!
Please stay tuned for a closer look at farming and environmental issues in later posts.