Eco Tip #19 Why You Should Buy From Local Farmers
There’s no real definition of “local” food, but let’s just call it food from farmers that aren’t too far from you. Whether it’s from farmers you know, or food grown locally, you will find a farmer’s market somewhere nearby that sells greens and maybe even meat. These days, people increasingly want to know where their food is coming from and what’s being put in it. Buying from the local farmer’s market allows you to do just that.
The best part, other than the health benefits, is that each sale you make would directly pay the farmers, so you’d also be helping to support your local community. Here’s a couple reasons why buying from local farmers can help everyone:
It Can be Healthier
The main reason that local foods can be healthier is that they generally retain more nutrients. The reason for this is that the food is allowed to ripen naturally, whereas food that gets imported or exported is often picked up before it’s ripe. In comparison, the fresh produce doesn’t have to travel too far before being sold at a farmer’s market.
In addition, local foods are often safer than their imported alternatives. Imported goods are often artificially ripened or grown using a myriad of different pesticides. Local produce, on the other hand, can be completely organic, or just use less pesticides than large industrialized farms. If you can, just have a chat with the farmers at the market and ask them what kind of products they use on their plants. Either way, just remember to wash your produce thoroughly to be safe.
It’s better for the environment
Food has become one of the leading drivers of carbon emissions and climate change. From meat to greens, the average produce from an industrialized farm will have a much larger impact on the environment due to the methods used, transportation, storage, and more.
In comparison, supporting local farmers can help to preserve green space. When farmers are well compensated for their produce, it’s less likely that they would sell their land to developers or industrial food operations.
It’s Just Better
While the health benefits and environmental impact are great reasons to buy locally, that’s far from the only reasons to do so. Unsurprisingly, locally sourced produce and meat will always taste better than their imported counterparts. The fresher the food is, it won’t only retain more nutrients but also far more flavour.
There’s also more variety. Industrial farms generally use a monocrop system which severely limits their variety of produce. On the other hand, local farmers can plant a variety of crops, sometimes even planting heirloom produce, which is an old variety of a certain crop. It’s not too common to find farms that plant them, but they’re often more nutritious and flavourful than their newer varieties.
Fortunately, there are now more ways than ever to buy local produce. Thanks to this, consumers now have the opportunity to buy fresher and better food by buying locally. Many local farms are run by families, and it’s more of a way of life than a means of income. Hopefully more and more people will start to purchase locally, that way we can all help these farms keep going and get better produce while we’re at it.