A summer of luscious local food ahead!
With spring finally sprung we are eagerly anticipating our summer market openings in the first week in June; Newport on Wednesday June 4, 2 to 6 pm, and Middletown on Saturday, June 7, 9 am to 1 pm, and anticipating a big season ahead as more and more people come to understand and value the importance of eating locally. Below are 10 reasons why we should do that, with thanks to David Korten and Living Economies for articulating so clearly why eating locally is critically important! And, if you finish reading the reasons and still need convincing please watch the new documentary about our food industry: Fed Up!
Spread the word market people! Vote with your forks!
10 Reasons To Shop and Eat Locally
- The food tastes better! Local food was probably picked within the last day or two and is crisp, sweet, and loaded with flavor. The closer you are to your food source, the fresher and healthier that food is for you and your community. There’s no taste like home.
- The food is better for you! Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly: Sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality. Buying local lets you get food at the peak of its flavor and nutritive value. Our bodies naturally crave seasonal crops, requiring more hearty potatoes and cabbages when weather turns colder, and lighter salad greens and cucumbers when it is warmer. Shopping locally tunes you in with the seasons.
- Local food supports local farming families! From Polyface Farm to Skagit River Ranch, we can support talented and hardworking farm families to stay on their land. Each five-year agricultural census shows more families getting out of farming–less than 2 percent of the population is currently a farming family. A typical farmer gets paid 10 cents of each retail food dollar, but buying directly from the producer or conscientious retailer keeps more money in the farmer’s pocket and a family on the land.
- Local food creates a strong agricultural economy! Local food means a strong local economy and preserves the viability of local agriculture. Local farms and food producers are crucial to a healthy and diversified economy. While dollars spent with large corporations almost immediately leave the community, dollars spent on local food products circulate within the community eight to 15 times, drastically improving the value of your purchase.
- Local food builds community! Chat with your famers at the market – it’s a great connection for eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the accessible miracle of raising food, plus you can trust the food you eat when you know the person who grew it and their agricultural practices.
- Local food preserves genetic diversity! The modern industrial food system favors crop varieties with thick skins that can survive packing and shipping, leaving few varietal options. Family farmers place value on different things, such as varieties that are uniquely suited to their region, often favoring heirloom varieties that have been passed down from generation to generation. Old varieties contain genetic material from hundreds of years of human selection; they may someday provide the genes needed to create varieties that will thrive in a changing climate. Local food is free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)! Many US consumers now want labels on GMO food – most so that they can avoid it. Biotech companies currently license GMO fruits and vegetables only to large commercial growers, which means that local farmers are a guaranteed non-GMO source.
- Local food is better for the environment! Local food means fewer food miles and dramatically reduces transportation, days of refrigeration, and tons of pollution and packaging. Unlike most food in North America, which travels 1,500 miles over the course of seven to 14 days to reach your plate, local food is usually sold within 24 hours of harvest. How fresh and healthy would you feel after a week on a truck?
- Family farms value resources like fertile soil and clean water! According to some estimates, farmers who practice conservation tillage can sequester 12 to 14 percent of the carbon emitted by vehicles and industry. And the habitat of a farm – the patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds, and buildings – is the perfect environment for many beloved species of wildlife.
- Local food preserves open space! When more people put their dollars into the pockets of farmers and show that their work is valuable, farmland becomes less likely to be developed. We face enormous pressures all over North America to develop farmland into suburban housing and shopping facilities.
- Local food preserves a region’s unique character! By supporting local farmers today, we can help ensure that there will be farms in our community tomorrow. By preserving farmland, we are guaranteeing that our rural landscape remains beautiful and productive, and that future generations will have the opportunity to work in environmentally sustainable and culturally valuable industries like food production.
……©Copyright 2010 | info [at] livingeconomies.org | 360-746-0840 ..
And while recognizing contributors to this site, we also thank Emily Totten of Greenview Farm for the banner photo of their luscious vegetables.