written by Lisa Luck
When standing in the produce section of the grocery store, have you ever been confused as to why there are two or three different stands for the same type of tomato? The reason is that one tomato is locally grown and the other is shipped from half way across the world. How food is grown and transported can influence how it impacts your body.
The nutritional value declines as time passes after harvesting. Local food tastes better because it is picked at the peak of freshness and is grown with the consumer in mind. Local farmers are not anonymous; they take their responsibility to the consumer more seriously than do big companies from overseas.
► You can find a local farmers’ market by visiting http://www.localharvest.org or www.guide.buylocalca.org
► Some farmers markets are held on a local farm so you can meet your local farmer. You can ask them how they grow the food and what products they use on their produce.
The fewer the steps there are between your food’s source and your table, the less chance
there is a risk of contamination. When you know where your food comes from and who grows it, you know a lot more about the food you are putting into your body. The bacteria outbreaks that are reported on the news from recalls on certain food items from time to time would not affect you because you would know the food in your refrigerator was grown by your local farmer and not from some big factory.
► Local food supports your local economy and also creates a sense of community.
Money spent with local farmers, growers, and artisans stays close to home. It helps build your local economy instead of getting handed over to big corporations around the world. Knowing where you food is from connects you to the people who raise and grow it. Instead of having a single relationship with a super-market, you can develop smaller connections with more food sources. Soon you will know all of the vendors at the farmers market. People who know you tend to want to help you out. It can be setting aside your favorite loaf of bread because your local baker knows you’re running late to the market or maybe a deal from your local butcher.
Article information adapted from Clemson University’s local fact sheet.