Buy fresh, buy local works on so many levels. As everyone who is interested in green living knows, locally grown produce and locally produced goods have a lot of real benefits to us as individuals and also to the environment.
Over recent years there has been a trend towards wanting all produce to be available all year round. Instead of celebrating the seasonality of foods and the rich diversity that this brings, people have been clamoring for produce to be available regardless of the season. This often results in out of season produce being shipped many thousands of miles, or grown in situations which are highly artificial. Strains of plants have been developed that are more about extending the growing season than for ensuring a high quality and tasty product. The heightened awareness of the harm that this does to our environment, combined with a greater appreciation of good food has resulted in many people looking to locally produced food.
Why You Should Buy Fresh, Buy Local
There are many reasons why you should buy locally produced products and locally grown produce. These include:
Reduce Food Miles
Food miles are the number of miles that an item of food has traveled before it ends up on our plates. This can sometimes be many thousands of miles as the product is shipped from its place of growth, to the processing plant, through to a supermarket delivery center before finally being sold and taken home to prepare. All of this consumes energy and makes a drain on the environment. Reducing the number of miles food has traveled can help to reduce our carbon footprint.
Top Quality Food
Locally grown food is going to be as fresh and top quality. Food often degrades after it has been picked or prepared, or it is processed in such a way that many of the benefits are reduced. Locally produced food can be picked and available for sale with the minimum of time spent in shipping or distribution. The buy fresh, buy local movement also encourages growers and consumers to be more in tune with nature and this means making food available when it is at its best and not striving to artificially extend the growing season.
Keeping Business Local
Another real benefit of buying local food and locally produced products is that it supports local business. This has a knock on effect that benefits the whole community. A successful farmer, grower or food manufacturing business will employ local people and help to inject wealth into a community.
Buying Locally Grown Food
One of the best places to find locally produced and grown food is at farmers' markets. These are a great place to find a wide range of products that are not available in supermarkets. These range from fresh fruit and vegetables through to cheeses made using traditional methods.
Challenges of Buying Locally Produced Food
Although the principle of buying locally produced and grown food is good, it is not without its challenges. Not all areas of the country, for instance, are suitable for growing a wide range of food and therefore this can lead to a restricted range of options available.
Another significant challenge is that people need to rethink how they approach food and preparing meals. This can often involve learning to cook in a very different way, with meals created around what is in season rather than creating a certain meal regardless of whether all the ingredients are naturally available. Many people find this an exciting challenge, however, with the result being a whole new approach to food and range of meal options available.
The buy fresh, buy local concept is about using top quality fresh food and many people find that this is a positive addition to their diet that also helps the environment.