Do you give much thought to where your food comes from? Walking into the grocery store and grabbing any and everything we need has become both a blessing and a curse. We’re able to buy convenience food, food in off seasons and food not local to our areas.
For most of us who don’t live in tropical climates, things like bananas and avocados are still a part of our daily diets. But if they’re not grown locally, where do they come from? Well, they can be grown in many different areas but the point is they have to travel a long long way to make it onto our supermarket shelves. THat kind of trip comes with quite a hefty carbon footprint.
And it’s not just avocados and bananas. it can be anything. Even food that would naturally be grown in your climate but they’re still imported from elsewhere. Local farmers and growers aren’t always given the chance to have their products on our shelves. This is a disservice I would say.
Supporting our local farmers and shopping locally is so important for us, our communities and our planet.
Why shopping locally is better for the planet:
Food that is grown locally has a shorter distance to travel to make it to you. Whether is grown right in your town/city or in your state/province. It’s a much shorter trip than travelling across seas and taking a boat, train and plane to make it to you.
This takes a lot of resources. Especially if they’re taking several modes of transportation to get to you. The emissions released while the food is in transport increase the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. So something coming from an hour away, while still releasing carbon emissions is a lot less than something coming from across the world.
Why shopping locally is better for you:
Eating locally (and seasonally) is amazing for you! It has a ton of benefits. A book that really impacted my life was Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe. The premise for the book is not only gut health but achieving overall health. And by literally eating food with some dirt on it, whether it be from our own garden or a local farmer, we can help build our immune systems against local bacteria. Soil-based organisms are amazing for you and can be found in local food.
It isn’t dirty or gross and you don’t have to eat a carrot completely covered in dirt, but local food isn’t sanitized and clean to the extent that a lot of big chain farms and grocery stores do. So you’re still getting lots of good and local benefits.
Studies have shown that a lot of produce is artificially ripened or even picked prematurely meaning it hasn’t naturally or properly grown all its nutrients. Then during transport which can take weeks, they often lose some of the nutrients they do have.
It’s also a lot fresher! Since most imported food takes weeks to transport it is already weeks old by the time it gets onto your supermarket shelf. After all, it had to travel around the world to get to you. The food you can find at your local farmer’s market may only be a few hours or days old. That’s drastic!
Why shopping locally is better for your community:
Using your money to support your community I always a better choice than putting that money into a big chain farm if at all possible. Obviously shopping 100% locally isn’t always possible. But you’re putting your money directly back into your local economy.
It wasn’t until a few decades ago that everything began to be outsourced. From food to cars to clothing, all of these items used to be made and grown locally. Because everything is usually imported these days, it’s taking money out of our communities and away from hard-working families and businesses in our communities.
Shopping locally is also an ethical practice as you’re able to track the supply chain. Buying food that you’re not even sure where it came from makes it really fuzzy when it comes to the supply chain. Most mass chain farms use labour that isn’t always fair or ethical. If you know your local farmers, where their farm is, it’s a lot easier to know who was involved in planting, growing and sourcing the food.
You can use The local harvest website to find local farmers near you!
While shopping locally can seem intimidating, it usually only takes a bit of research and almost everyone should have access to at least some local food. Some more than others of course. And if you can grow your own food, all the better!
Thank you for reading this post and caring about the planet. Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living tips!