Local foods should remain a growing trend
The concept of a family farm is quickly deteriorating from the American landscape. Most agricultural products are not profitable enough any more to sell except on a large scale. The price of farm equipment and amount of land needed make family ve...
The concept of a family farm is quickly deteriorating from the American landscape. Most agricultural products are not profitable enough any more to sell except on a large scale. The price of farm equipment and amount of land needed make family ventures unsuitable, at best.
Consequently, many remaining family farmers distribute goods through localized markets to avoid unfavorable contracts with corporate vendors.
Purchasing from local growers does more than keep an American archetype in existence. Buying local food products yields economic, environmental and safety benefits.
Money spent on products from another member of the community keeps a larger percentage of money circulating in the area than buying at a chain store. Instead of funneling resources to a centralized location, money will continue to circulate in the community.
The global latticework of transportation allows customers access to year-round supplies of produce, but in the process, increases the amount of energy needed to produce food. The average piece of food in a supermarket travels about 1,500 miles. The fossil fuels consumed in the food industry account for roughly 10 percent of energy usage in the US.
With global warming an acknowledged reality to all but the most obstinate of critics, reducing emissions needs to be a priority for our culture. Buying food from farmers markets and other local sources reduces our carbon footprint.
Local foods also offer the advantage of easier enforcement of food regulation. The wheat gluten scare from China proved the impracticality of comprehensive food inspection in an international economy.
Worse yet, citizens of other countries cannot be held responsible for malfeasance the same way US citizens can. Malcontents could taint a food supply with impunity outside our nation's borders.
In order to transport foods to other parts of the world and compensate for decreased shelf life, companies often add artificially created chemical preservatives. These preservative methods often destroy the vitamins and minerals found naturally in food. While local foods must be consumed more quickly, the nutritional value is much greater.
Of course, it is almost impossible to purchase all food from local sources, but by supporting local growers, consumers cast an economic vote for local foods. Making a decision to buy even a few of the available products in the area creates demand. Incremental changes yield incremental benefits.