What’s for dinner tonight? A fresh Cobb salad? BBQ chicken? Pasta with tomato sauce? Whatever is on the menu, you’ll feel better about what you’re serving knowing that you bought your produce from a local farm. Still need convincing? Check out these 10 reasons:
10 reasons to buy local produce:
1. The food tastes better. Fresher tastes better, and no big box grocery store can offer fresher produce than a local farmer.
2. The food is healthier. Food looses nutrients once it’s picked, so the faster it gets to your table the more nutrients it has.
3. Your money stays in your community. The money that you give to the farmer in exchange for your purchase stays in the community as she spends that money locally.
4. Less environmental impact. A tomato that travels a few miles from the farm to the farmers’ market has less environmental impact than one that travels thousands of miles in a large trailer.
5. Growing local jobs. Chances are that your farmer needs to hire help. She’ll look to hire a local person who she knows to be reliable. There is no foreign out-sourcing in local farming.
6. Better customer service. Like any small, local business your farmer is interested in growing her customer base. So, she’ll listen to your feedback and aim to provide you with the best customer service possible.
7. Build a relationship with a farmer. Let him know what you like and don’t like. Chances are that if you let him know that you never buy kale but can’t get enough heirloom tomatoes you’ll see changes in what he offers next season.
8. Genetic crop diversity. A small farmer has the opportunity to grow different varieties of produce versus a large scale farm. A farm that has to ship their tomatoes across the country has to grow a variety that has a tough skin to survive the trip; a small farm doesn’t have this limitation.
9. Support your values. If eating organic and/or non-GMO food is important to you then you have a better chance of supporting those values by buying locally from a farmer who, chances are, shares those values.
10. Keep taxes in check. GoodEarthFoodAlliance.com makes a great point about how buying local keeps your tax dollars in check, “Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas urban development costs more than it generates in taxes, according to several studies. On average, for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, government must spend $1.17 on services, thus requiring higher taxes on all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, government spends 34 cents on services.”
photo of farmers market via flickr