Green Alternatives – Why Buy Local
Why buy local?
People throughout the country are rediscovering the benefits of buying local. There are countless reasons why buying local food is a good choice. For instance, vegetables are harvested closer to their maturity which adds to their flavor and increased nutritional value. You support the local economy, use less fuel, create less pollution by reducing the transportation process. Food can be fresher and tastier because of when it was picked and how it was grown.
Buying local also means you are supporting local economies. Annually, Americans consume more than $600 billion in food. In most communities today food is purchased entirely at a grocery store or market, with only about 7% of local food dollars staying in the community. The other 93% of the modern food dollar travels to pay processors, packagers, distributors, wholesalers, truckers, and fuel, to name a few that a global food system demands. When more food dollars stay in the community through local buying, they are transformed into thriving "Main Street" and local jobs. Interested in learning more about why buying local is important? Click here!
Frequenting local markets allow you to be more aware of food seasons, where foods are grown and how to use and enjoy foods you may have never seen or attempted to experiment with in a traditional supermarket.
Reduces "Food Miles"
"Food miles" refer to the distance a food item travels from the farm to your home. The food miles for items in the grocery store are, on average, 27 times higher than the food miles for goods bought from local sources.
In the U.S., the average grocery store's produce travels nearly 1,500 miles between the farm where it was grown and your refrigerator. About 40% of our fruit is produced overseas and, even though broccoli is grown all over the country, the broccoli we buy at the supermarket travels an average of 1,800 miles to get there. Notably, nine percent of our red meat comes from foreign countries, some as far away as Australia and New Zeland.
Saves Natural Resources
When food is transported across countries, hauled in freighter ships over oceans, and flown around the world. A tremendous amount of fossil fuel is burned to transport foods such long distances, releasing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and other pollutants that contribute to global climate change, acid rain, smog and air and sea pollution. The refrigeration required to keep our fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meats from spoiling during their long journeys burn up even more fossil fuel.
Buying Local Helps Your Economy
Buying locally or directly from farmers can dramatically increase a farmer's income. Buying direct from a farmer sends 90% of those food dollars back to the farm. Increasing farm income means more money can be spent locally by the farmer to run their business and home, helping keep the local economy flourishing.