Locally grown food is a commodity that not all communities have. Farms that host farmers markets usually are small businesses that link together to try to create a ‘community within a community’ for local, fresh, organic produce. It’s a way for smaller companies to get to know each other, and of course, a chance for the people that live in the local area to experience healthy, fresh, delicious and organic food at good prices.
Fruit and vegetables aren’t the only things sold at farmers markets, though; many markets go up for one or two days every weekend have, in addition to the standard fruits and veggies, fresh and natural honey from local bees, and fresh organic meat from the local pastures. One of the boons of having honey harvested from local bees is the pollens and minerals in the honey; the bees collect the same flowers that surround the homes of the people that buy it. This means they develop natural immunities to the allergens that lurk outside and affect so many during the warmer seasons.
But how do any of these aforementioned things tie into being benefits of purchasing local food? Well, for one thing, you get to support real, local, boots-on-the-ground small businesses that work and operate in the area. The owners of which live in the same communities that you do and this can form not only real but also business partnership relationships.
Another significant boon of purchasing food locally is that you not only get your hands on cheap, fresh, tasty and natural products, but you keep the market alive for these businesses, which also ties into supporting the businesses. These local farmers can provide the community with vibrant and healthy produce on a daily or weekly basis.
Aside from these simple but still significant benefits, there are also more green-oriented and practical advantages that come from buying locally, some of which we will go over now.
1. Local products are healthier for you and taste way better.
Some studies have shown that fresh products lose their nutrients during travel, a side effect of the preservative chemicals sprayed onto them before shipping. However, when you get your hands on fresh and local products, those nutrients and minerals remain until, of course, you eat them.
2. Local food protects the natural genetic diversity
Instead of having these small-town products commercialized and incorporated into big shopping chains, they are grown locally and freshly and remain genetically distinct from other variants of the same vegetable. A potato grown in New Hampshire will taste and look different than one grown in New York, thanks to the various minerals and pH levels in the soil.
3. Local farms preserve space in nature and can support a more fully diverse environment.
As the market for more commercially grown fruits and vegetables emerges, the space needed to keep up with the supply and demand increases also, leading to more and more fields and forests being harvested for their space or materials to provide for the increasing market, which is not only detrimental to the quality and freshness of the food, but also hurts the environment and pushes smaller locally owned farms and businesses away from selling their produce.
Finally, with privately owned smaller farms, we can directly control our food; both regarding the quality and quantity of the produce, and the land that we grow it on boosting the health of the environment around us and helping out local businesses. In short, it’s always better to buy local food and support local businesses, because of the positive effects it has on our health, the environment and the community of which it surrounds.