In recent years, there’s been a growing movement to eat local in this country. There are many things consumers can do to support this movement and it’s easier than you might think.
Try the following:
Dine at locally owned restaurants that support sustainable agriculture
Buy locally grown produce
Maintain a garden at home
Start and/or support a community garden
If you’re committed to supporting locally grown food, then start out by buying as local as possible. Instead of purchasing fruits and vegetables grown outside of the United States – why not buy produce grown in California or Florida if you have the option. If you think about what one might eat in a typical day it’s easy to see that the typical American diet has an incredibly large carbon footprint, because many times the food we eat has traversed the globe before it makes it to our dinner table. What kind of impact would it make on the local economy and environment if everyone made a concerted effort to eat local?
Why Eat Local?
In the video, “Why Eat Local?,” food journalist Michael Pollan encourages buying local food to conserve energy, support farmers and preserve the natural landscape. And according to the Sustainable Table, there are many reasons to eat local, buy local and be local:
It supports the local economy, because farmers are local business owners.
It’s better for your pocketbook, because in-season produce tends to be less expensive.
It’s better for the environment, because the food travels less distance.
It tastes better and is better for you, because locally grown fruits and vegetables are usually sold within 24 hours of being harvested.
What is a Locavore?
A locavore is “one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.” There has been a very heated debate in the past few years in regards to locally grown food versus organic. On the one hand organic is a great choice, because it’s free of pesticides. However, if the organic food is being shipped hundreds if not thousands of miles. it seems like the better choice would be the locally grown produce. After all, it does support the local economy, and that’s a priority for many consumers these days.
In the video below, the Lexicon discusses how where our food comes from can have a significant impact on the environment. They suggest we should consider living responsibly by living locally … and the word for this concept is locavore.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and according to Local Harvest, CSAs have advantages for both farmers and consumers. With the financial backing of local consumers, farmers are able to devote more time to marketing during the off-season. Consumers are able to enjoy really fresh food, which packs a more substantial nutritional punch than produce picked early for long-distance shipment. Furthermore, relationships between farmers and consumers are developed and a sense of community is born.
In recent years, there’s also been a growing movement to support sustainable agriculture, but what does that mean? According to Northeast SARE, sustainable agriculture practices should be both economically and ecologically sound, and over the long term:
Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends.
Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.
Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
In the video below, farmers explain why the future of food depends on sustainable agricultural practices.
Books on the Local Food Movement
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