Be The Change That Agriculture Needs Today
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Politics and Activism

Be The Change That Agriculture Needs Today

10 reasons why buying local produce is so important

Be The Change That Agriculture Needs Today
Southwest Michigan's Second Wave

When you’re grocery shopping at Walmart, does it strike you that most of their food products were produced hundreds, or even thousands, of miles from where they now sits in your grocery cart? On average, most fruits and vegetables in the United States travel 1,500 miles from where they are grown to your dinner table.

This long-distance exporting of (mainly GMO-containing) food products requires a substantial amount of energy consumption for handling, transportation, and storage. This results in major food waste from spoilage along the way. So not only is about 40 percent of food being wasted in the U.S., but most food is also highly processed in order to sustain a long-shelf life.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in learning about the food that we consume and where it comes from. Though buying locally grown foods can be on the pricey side, it is beneficial for your health as well as the environment. Buying locally is definitely worth the money, and here’s why:

  1. Locally grown foods are healthier and tastier! Unlike supermarkets that store food for days and weeks at a time, local farmer’s markets and local produce stores supply fresh, in-season foods on a daily basis, often picked no more than 24 hours of your purchase. Fresh foods also add nutritional value.
  2. Buying locally allows you to know where your food is coming from. Knowing the story behind where your food comes from makes a meal even more enjoyable. This also allows consumers to learn about sustainable production practices directly from the grower.
  3. Local food systems produce less energy, emissions, and food miles linked with your food. Much of our food travels thousands of miles until it’s finally stocked at a supermarket, resulting to a big carbon footprint. Buying locally encourages sustainable growing practices and energy usage.
  4. Local foods preserve genetic and bio diversity. Small, local farms are able to produce a more diverse selection of produce and livestock than multinational commercial companies. Large-scale production has limited genetic diversity due to the needs of lasting long on a shelf.
  5. Buying local foods make community ties stronger! When your food comes directly from the farmer that produced it, you are building strong grower-consumer connections. Buying locally allows you to gain insight on nature, agriculture, and where your food comes from by establishing smaller connections to more food sources.
  6. Local food production helps keep taxes down. According to studies done by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of necessary services.
  7. Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Local farms are very beneficial to the environment and the wildlife that inhabits it. They provide several ecosystem services, including the conservation of fertile soil, protection of water sources, and reduction of carbon emissions.
  8. Local food promotes food safety and variety. The locally available food is diverse and is often grown sustainably without the aid of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The fewer steps there are between a food’s source and your dinner table, the better.
  9. Buying locally helps support your local economy. Spending your money on local produce helps build your economy and keeps revenue close to home instead of handing it over to huge industries in other parts of the country.
  10. Local food is a good investment for the future of farming! By supporting local farms and buying locally, you help promote the importance of food security by insuring that there will be a supply of fresh produce in your community for the years to come. Buying locally helps support energy efficient agricultural methods and local production.

During your next trip to the grocery store, how about investing your dollars into directly supporting your local community and the farmers? You won’t find genuine growers and build lasting relationships at Walmart. Be the change that agriculture needs today. You can have fresher, tastier foods, help build your community’s economy, and benefit the environment all by the simple act of buying local.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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