All of us can play a role in sustaining local agriculture, whether we buy local products from our neighboring farms, donate time and money, or simply spread the word about the importance of supporting local agriculture. Think about this… most produce in the US are picked 4 to 7 days before arriving at any supermarket shelves, all products are shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. Taking into account only US grown products…Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places. Ask yourself, how fresh is fresh? Buying your food locally is good for your health, your environment and your community. Simply put, buying local means to buy food produced, grown or raised as close to your home as possible. Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in your community. This ensures that family farms in your community will continue to thrive. Supporting local farms can help to create jobs for your region.
Experts agree that fruits, vegetables, and greens provide peak nutrition when they are ripe. Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of the commercial produce in the United States is picked before it’s ripe, which means the produce you buy doesn’t have its full nutritional component. In addition to early harvesting practices, modern agriculture has introduced fungicides, coolants, and chemicals to enhance the appearance of produce and slow the rate of perishing. If your supermarket doesn’t carry local organic produce, try your local health food store or a local farmer’s market. A successful farmers’ market can be a tremendous resource for a community, large or small. Fresh food is available at a reasonable price, the local agricultural economy as well as the marketplace area receives an economic boost, and a festive and community-enhancing social center draws people together.
For every dollar you spend at a farmers’ market, the farmer gets a dollar. For every dollar you spend in the supermarket, the farmer receives a mere ten cents.Rather than spreading your dollars among distant stockholders, managers, brokers, and CEOs, spend them at your neighbor’s farm. That family will in turn spend some of the dollars locally. Local fresh food markets in the U.S. are multiplying. According to the Agriculture Department, there were just 1,755 farmers markets in 1994. Now, there are about 6,100—mainly due to the increased demand for fresher foods. Finally, eating in season keeps you in touch with the seasons and your location. Foods in season are at their tastiest, are abundant, and the least expensive.