Local foods are fresher.Fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients as soon as they are picked. Buying local produce cuts down travel time from farm to table.
Local foods are seasonal. True, it would be great to have fresh tomatoes and berries all year round, but eating seasonally means avoiding “artificial ripening” with gases or eating a bland version of a fruit or vegetable that’s been shipped thousands of miles. Eating seasonally results in the most delicious and nutrient-dense produce.
Local foods are better for the environment. Some foods are shipped literally thousands of miles; that is a big carbon footprint that could be avoided by purchasing local and seasonal foods.
Local foods preserve green space and farmland. The environmental question of where your food comes from is bigger than its carbon footprint. Buying foods grown and raised closer to where you live helps maintain farmland and green space in your area.
Local foods promote food safety. Less distance between your food’s source and your kitchen table leaves less of a chance of contamination.
Local foods promote variety. Local foods create a greater variety of foods. Farmers who run CSA (community-supported agriculture) programs, sell at farmers markets, and provide food to local restaurants have the demand and the economic support for raising more types of produce and livestock.
Local foods support your local economy. Money spent locally stays local. Purchasing locally builds your local economy instead of handing over the earnings to a corporation in another city, state, or country. Also, since the food itself moves through less hands, more of the money you spend will end up in the pockets of those raising and growing those foods.
Local foods create community. Ever find yourself spending much of your time at the farmers market chatting and socializing in addition to purchasing your produce? Getting to know your farmer, cheese purveyor, fishmonger, butcher, workers at your local co-op, etc., creates a sense of community.