Whenever I hear that phrase "locally sourced", I instantly think of that hilarious Portlandia sketch depicting a couple inquiring about the home life of the chicken they were about to consume. While the episode was actually poking fun at people who do this, it actually IS important to care where your food comes from!
Buying your fruits, veggies, and meats from farmers markets or the "local" section of your grocery store has so many benefits for both the environment and the local economy. Find out our top 6 here!
1. Usually Pesticide Free
Although we may not think about it, mass produced foods are typically doused with pesticides. And let's face it, unless you're spending several minutes scrubbing each tomato you're not going to get it all off. Alternatively, many local farmers use natural pest repellants to your food remains pesticide-free.
2. Preservative Free
Because locally sourced food doesn't need to travel far to reach its destination, it typically doesn't need preservatives or chemicals to maintain freshness, leaving all the good stuff in and bad stuff out.
3. Your Food is Better and Fresher
Locally grown food usually has a higher nutrient content and even tastes better. That's because local food is grown depending on the seasons, meaning not everything will be available all the time. But this drawback is actually a positive because when something IS available, it's actually grown in its natural season and is bursting with flavor.
4. It Preserves Small Farm Land
If there were no local farms in your area, that land would likely be used for commercial or industrial purposes; so imagine and even bigger concrete jungle. And aside from providing a way of life for some, local farms also attract various plant and animal life, giving them a home to thrive in.
5. It Reduces Food Miles
"Food Miles" refers to the distance food has traveled from production to consumption; with mass produced food, this number often stretches hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. The farther it has to go, the more fossil fuels are burned and the more greenhouse gases emitted. So when you shop local, you are greatly decreasing your carbon footprint.
6. It Keeps Money in Your Community
When you choose to shop locally, you are supporting individuals in your own community, instead of large chain conglomerates. This also creates jobs for your friends and neighbors at a place they can feel good about!
Of course, the switch to eating local-only isn't easy and won't happen overnight, but even small steps make a difference. So next time you think about heading to your large-chain supermarket, maybe opt for a fun farmer's market instead!