In our industrialised society, buying local produce can be a huge privilege for most. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our hardest to do so, buying local produce is important for the sustainability of all our futures.
Why is buying local produce important?
1. Fresh and in season.
Buying in season means you are eating produce when it is at its absolute peak, it hasn’t had to be picked before ripeness and shipped across the world. The only way to get fresher produce would be by growing your own (try starting with herbs!) or going to a local farm and picking your own. A lot of the time this is only available for fruits such as berries or stone fruit. Nonetheless, this is a great way to get an understanding of where your food comes from and how hard our farmers work to feed us, day in day out. This also means we are eating more of a variety and farmers can diversify their crops compared to industrialised mono-crops.
2. Food Miles
Buying local reduces food miles thus reducing C02 emissions! Food miles is the distance your produce travels from farm to consumer. I know here in Australia a lot of the supermarket garlic you can buy comes from the other side of the world. Why? Transporting food relies on the use of fossil fuels. Buying within Australia (or your country) will have a drastic impact on the environment. Buying even more local is game-changing.
3. Reduce on waste (especially plastic).
Our waste is continuing to grow, it’s estimated that we produce 100 million tons of waste globally each year. This impacts our environment in many ways, it contaminates our soil, air and water. This is just the tip of the problems that arise from all our waste. This is a global problem and will affect many generations after us. We can start combatting this massive problem by switching to reusable items over single-use items. Farmers markets have minimum packaging if any compared to your local grocery store. As well as more options of where to purchase from, giving you the freedom to choose the produce that isn’t packaged.
4. Helps thy neighbour
Supporting local farmers helps build connection and community compared to buying from big corps who pocket most of the money. You’re helping the local economy generate more jobs and income. This has a snowball effect in helping the community to prosper, more money is invested in public services like parks and libraries. It’s also a great way to keep the community unique.
5. Sustainability for the future
By now we are all sick of hearing about COVID. I’m bringing it up because it just goes to show how quickly something can change everything. Having a strong sustainable food network can serve as a lifeline in times of uncertainty.
Produce isn’t the only thing that should be brought locally, anything you purchase from local stores will have all these benefits.