Should You Be Eating Locally Grown Food?
There is a growing interest in Australia (and around the world) in wanting to know where the food we eat comes from. Most of our food is transported long distances, and worse, we usually aren’t aware of what goes into it or who produced it. Eating local is another option and gives us a way to improve our health, benefit the environment, and support the local economy all at once. Locally grown food is an excellent choice because:
- It’s fresher and tastes better. The fruits and veggies you buy in the supermarket have often been in transit or cold storage for days or even weeks. By contrast, locally grown produce often makes its way to the farm-gate or local farmers market within 24 hours of being picked.
- It’s healthier. The freshness of locally grown produce not only affects the taste but it also its nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables that are grown locally typically ripen longer before being picked, so they are more nutritious than their supermarket counterparts.
- It supports local farmers. When you buy locally grown food, you’ll be investing your money close to home and strengthening your community.
- It keeps you in touch with the seasons. Buying locally means that you’ll be eating food that’s in season. Seasonal produce is flavoursome, abundant, and cheap.
- It’s good for the environment. Conventional supermarket food often travels tens of thousands of kilometres, using valuable energy. When you support local food systems, you save significant energy, emissions, and food miles.
- It’s a good way to know more of your food’s story. From the baker who makes your favourite local bread to the farmer who brings his apples to market, buying locally allows you to know more about where your food originated.
- It’s a good way to invest in the future. There’s a major problem with the current industrialised system of transporting food over large distances. This system is dependent on the low energy prices that come with “cheap oil.” These prices are artificially low, and this arrangement will not last forever. Buying local food gives us a way to re-evaluate the food system and build resilient local economies now before oil supply dwindles and prices go through the roof.
You may not be able to eat only locally produced food, but choosing this option when you can will make you, the environment, and the economy healthier.