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Why Buy Local? | Beyond the Market

Why Buy Local?

When you purchase locally grown and raised foods, you are investing in your health, your environment, your local economy and community.

Fresh food is more nutritious and better tasting.

Not only does buying locally provide you with the freshest food available, but local farms tend to grow varieties that are prized for their flavour, rather than their shelf life.  Imported produce is harvested weeks before it is ripe, and often, the nutrients, taste, texture, and color are not yet fully developed.  The time it takes to transport imported produce results in diminished nutrition. Fresh, local produce is not only more nutritious, but increasing consumption of fresh produce is always a healthy choice. Studies have shown that increased awareness of regional foods leads to an increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, which can lead to a healthier diet, reducing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other diet related illnesses.

Local food is the right choice for our environment.

A study by Toronto’s Food Share found that a meal produced with ingredients from a local farmers’ market travelled a total of 100 kilometers to get from origin to dinner plate; while the average North American meal prepared using conventional imported ingredients travels over 2000 kilometres and contains ingredients from five different countries.   Food transportation is now the largest component of airfreight – the most polluting form of transportation. Combined with trucking, refrigeration and packaging, transportation of food is major contributor to air pollution, climate change, and waste.  Buying locally will dramatically reduce the environmental impact of your meals, while also protecting valuable agricultural land in your region from industrial and residential development.

Local food stimulates our local economy.

When we buy local food products, we often pay the farmer or rancher directly, and our money will be circulated and reinvested in the local economy many times over. When we purchase imported foods, some of our dollars will pay local retail workers, but the majority of our investment is collected by large corporate distribution and transportation operations that have few ties to our local economy.  There is also a great potential for job creation in the value-added food sector. Workers are needed, not only grow produce and raise livestock, but also to process, package and distribute our food. A stronger agricultural economy in the north would create more employment in the rural communities that need it most.

Local food is about the future.

By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful, and abundant food. So let’s eat fresh, eat tasty, and eat healthy! Let’s Eat Local!

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