Buying Local-Win Win Win
Whenever I share information about WVFarm2u I usually use the expression Win-Win-Win.
Win #1—-The consumer gets food that is freshly harvested with higher levels of nutrients. The consumer also can speak to the farmer and find out how the product was raised. An informed consumer is a smarter consumer. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are usually sold within 24 hours of being harvested. Produce picked and eaten at the height of ripeness has exceptional flavor and, when handled properly, is packed with nutrients. Produce sold at the supermarket is usually picked green to make the long trip, and if you have never eaten freshly picked ripe produce, you have never tasted the real flavor!
Win#2—most of the vegetables we see in local grocery stores travel hundreds and thousands of miles to get there. Forget about the loss of nutrition in this issue. Think instead about the fuel consumption and resulting exhaust fumes entering the air. A shorter trip from farm to market means less pollutants and less oil consumed. Consider two examples: a carton of strawberry yoghurt and an industrially farmed carrot. A 2005 study in Iowa found that the milk, sugar, and strawberries in a container of yoghurt collectively travel 2,211 miles just to get to the processing plant—even before the yoghurt is transported to supermarket shelves. The carrot you buy at the grocery store is a bit closer to home. It travels a mere 1,838 miles from dirt to salad bowl.
Win#3—local farmers are our neighbors. If I pay a dollar at the local supermarket, a few pennies of it will end up as wages to the local employees; the rest goes on to the corporation. But if I take that same dollar to buy products from a local farmer, 100% is in the local economy. Consider another astounding fact about the food that ends up on our plates. The typical American meal contains ingredients grown in five countries outside the U.S.—even though we have 470 million acres of our own arable land in cultivation. In the last decade alone, food imports from China, South America, Europe, and the Middle East have quadrupled.
By buying produce, meats and other farm products from your local farmer, you are working to maintain a healthy environment, a vibrant community, a strong and sustainable local economy for you and your kids to thrive in, and feeding yourself more nutritious alternatives!