No matter how different we are, food is something we all need and have in common. The importance of eating locally is about much more than convenience. It helps to empower communities and bring everyone closer together by knowing that we are all working as a team to be healthy and care for the environment. Local farmers need our support and people in the community need to be inspired and educated in order to develop healthier eating habits and to understand how the choices we make determine the success of small cities and local businesses.
If you don’t buy locally grown food, consider 25+ reasons we’ve listed below. If you are a local buyer, pass this list on to others who could benefit from understanding why eating and shopping locally helps everyone.
- Locally grown food provides economic support for communities
Purchasing and eating food that’s been locally produced helps to keep farms in business and creates more jobs by putting money directly back into the community instead of funding large corporations that don’t share as much of their wealth on a local level.
- Less pollution is sent out into the air
We don’t have to travel far to buy locally grown food, which cuts down nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions that we put into the air through driving.
- We save the time it takes to commute
So much time is spent traveling that we often don’t notice how much of this time could be better spent. Just by cutting back on the time it takes to go to grocery stores that may be inconveniently located, there is more time to spend with our families, taking up hobbies, or doing other things that are important to us.
- We cut down on wasting food through local markets
Food that isn’t mass-produced doesn’t need to go through such a lengthy process of production and shipping. Oftentimes, food that could be given to those in need is thrown away because of mishandling or irresponsible distribution methods.
- Local food lasts longer
Many people are surprised at how different locally grown food tastes compared to its supermarket counterparts. This is because fruits and vegetables are harvested at their ripest time to be sold to consumers. Because foods go from farm to table, less time is spent in transit which extends the shelf life for consumers.
- Our sense of community is strengthened
Buying from farmer’s markets and local stores brings together people from different backgrounds and regions. It becomes a meeting place for healthy food lovers and newfound friends looking to connect with others who have similar interests.
- We can learn more about sustainable living from local food sources
Buying local food introduces us to the excitement and inspiration that can come with eco-friendly living. This can lead to buyers developing a desire to learn more about going green to preserve our natural world.
- Tourism is attracted to cities that offer locally grown food
If you’ve ever spent time at a farmer’s market, you’ll quickly take notice of the eclectic crowd. From small towns to larger cities, people are attracted to these markets because of the healthy alternatives they provide, and in turn, these tourists fund the community.
- Harmful chemicals aren’t found in locally grown food
Residue from pesticides are present in many supermarket foods. Their purpose is to keep away harmful pests that could destroy our food supply, but because of the dangerous ingredients, pesticides have been linked to developmental issues in children and weakened immunity in both children and adults.
- Buying what’s in season tastes better
A wide variety of foods are sold year-round, even when they are out of season, because they are set in environments that force their growth. Eating what is naturally in season is filled with more flavor and can inspire creative meals as the seasons change.
- Local purchases are a better investment
Due to the extended shelf life and higher nutritional value found in local food, you’ll drive less and shop less. Your body, the environment and your wallet will benefit from these changes.
- Local markets introduce you to new foods
Don’t be surprised if you discover new ingredients and foods when buying locally. Because major agricultural businesses rely on fast production, their planting methods aren’t always the best; this leads to a lower quality of soil to cut costs and move things along. Local farmers are able to put more time and care into their growing methods and base their choices on the quality of various foods instead of what is most popular.
- Local buying contributes to the preservation of open spaces
When we support local farmers and businesses, we are able to not only distribute wealth throughout the community, but we leave less available space for big businesses to begin construction projects and increase traffic to the area, both of which are major contributors of pollutants.
- Wildlife is supported by local farmers
Animals in the wild are meant to live and eat the way nature intended. When this process is disturbed by altering the design of the land, many animals are lost and confused, finding it more difficult to reach food sources. Local farmers work with the land to support the growth of crops and the well-being of animals.
- Industrial farming does harm to our planet
The methods and equipment that is used for industrial farming sends pollutants and chemicals into the air, damages soil, and requires a vast amount of energy. We should try our best to show that we are not supportive of these practices and support local farming instead.
- Local food is much safer
A lot of food is wrongly handled and people find themselves with illnesses and diseases due to improper practices of mass distribution. The less people that handle your food, the more likely it will be safer to consume. Your food also doesn’t have to be subjected to dangerous temperatures and shipping methods via transit.
- The nutritional value of locally produced food is much higher
Because local foods grow naturally and are picked ripe, the nutritious properties are better sustained. Store-bought fruits can still have nutritional value, but local food offers the highest nutritive quality of the two.
- Factory farms neglect and mistreat animals
Because of the large profits from meat distribution, many animals are subjected to cruel conditions for the purpose of mass production.
- Local food tastes much better
If you find your favorite fruit or purchase herbs that grow locally, you will notice that the taste is much different. It’s fresh and seasoned by nature and encourages buyers to eat healthier because of the enhanced flavor.
- Local food leads to less pollution from shipping
Just as we buy locally and reduce fuel emission from driving, our carbon footprint is also reduced because local food doesn’t have to be shipped from many miles away. The amount of resources and energy that is required to ship food so often to keep grocery stores and mass retailers stocked does heavy damage to our environment.
- It’s a healthy social and bonding experience when you purchase foods from local sources
There’s a story behind everything we buy and everything we eat. When you know that story firsthand, not only is it an educational experience, it makes you feel empowered to know that you are helping kind people who care about your well-being and your world.
- More plants and crops can grow by supporting small farms
The more that we ruin the soil by planting crops in ways that are based around profit instead of sustainability, the more difficult it is for other plants to thrive and grow. Small farms care for the soil, allowing for a wide variety of crops to grow in abundance.
- The natural atmosphere created by farms helps to keep excess carbon out of the air
On the other hand, industrial farming contributes to more carbon in the air because of chemicals, equipment usage, and shipping.
- Your meals become much more fun when you shop locally
Part of the reason you don’t know about a lot of food is because some are not produced in quantities that are large enough to be sold to everyone. At the Farmers Market, you’ll most likely be introduced to some new favorites.
- When we buy local, we show farmers we appreciate and respect their hard work
Our current food system is not set up in a way that properly gives back to the local farmers. As they work hard to plant and harvest many of the foods we need and enjoy, it’s not uncommon that they put out more than what they get back in the process. This is why so many small farms struggle or find themselves out of business.
- When you shop locally, you may already know that the food is healthier, but seeing the beauty of all the things you can eat will help you to continue to make healthy choices
Children are more likely to eat things that are attractive and colorful, as are adults. It’s interesting to know that we are much more likely to eat something if we like the way it looks. The aesthetic value of food isn’t thought about very often, but it does make a difference.