Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why Does Local Food Matter?

The demand for local food has skyrocketed during the past few years. Farmers and ranchers are selling their products to nearby consumers, stores, restaurants and cafeterias.

This commerce is a boost for the entire community, not just the farmers. Consumers’ money stays close to home, their food is fresher and healthier, and less fuel is used for transport.

When consumers choose local food, they strengthen the communities where they live. They show respect for their region’s environment and they build regional economic prosperity.

Local food helps people understand their food choices. Buying locally connects consumers with nearby farmers. It invests more food dollars into the farms and it reduces food miles-the distance our food travels from farm to fork-which may in turn reduce energy outputs.

In the end, buying local food is one part of becoming responsible consumers. As we consider local food, we need to consider whether or not local food is healthier, whether it is valuable to ourselves and other consumers, whether it builds wealth in our communities, and whether it contributes to a better environment through stewardship of the land, water and air.

(from ATTRA News, Nov/Dec 2009)