being conscious about what we consume and feed our bodies is essential for leading a healthy lifestyle. but have you ever put much thought into where your food comes from? i’m not talking about knowing that your food comes from an organic market or from a typical grocery store. actually knowing the exact farm or location your food is grown/produced in can be very beneficial to every aspect of your health, including the environment. this post will take you through the benefits of supporting local farms and what you can do to be more mindful when purchasing food.
knowing where your food comes from links the gap between farm to table. “farm to table” is the term associated with the current social movement, which promotes supporting local farms and businesses and serving local food in schools and/or other establishments. this gap between farm and table is growing at an alarming rate, why? ingredients such as vegetables sold from wholesalers to corporate businesses are cheaply produced, usually grown far away where the climate is suitable and costs of labor are low. furthermore, to be able to transport these vegetables long distances they must be treated with harmful pesticides to extend shelf life and prevent damage during transport. anyway, having this positive connection with food helps people develop healthy relationships with food. it allows one to really appreciate the ways in which their food is produced; whether its knowing how your vegetables are grown or how your bread is baked. bridging the gap from farm to table accentuates the fact that eating shouldn’t be just a quick mindless act but instead an experience that nourishes and enriches your body and mind.
supporting local drastically reduces your carbon footprint. the term “local” usually describes food being collected from an area within a certain number of miles from your home or city. the less travel your food has to experience creates less carbon emissions that negatively impact the environment. to put this impact in perspective, a study done by Virginia Tech in 2009 determined the approximate pounds of carbon dioxide per shipment of non-local versus local broccoli. the results found that non-local broccoli traveled about 3000 miles and emitted about 15.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per pound (11,758 pounds of broccoli) into the atmosphere. trying to wrap your head around that impact is mind boggling, i know. supporting local helps your surrounding environment thrive, and takes less stress off the environment on a global scale.
eating local helps your local economy and small businesses thrive. this ensures your money helps cultivate your community as a whole as opposed to supporting corporate agendas. mainstream and corporate food systems do not have you or the environment’s best interest in mind. supporting profit driven establishments hinders the growth of your community, ultimately that connection and respect you have with food is lost.
so now you must be wondering what you can do to be a conscious consumer when it comes to food. farmer’s markets are by far the best way to personally connect with the farmers who grow and sell produce, while doing so in a very encouraging environment. not only can you connect with farmers, but also artisan bakers, beekeepers, and many other local businesses. supporting these local merchants means you are also supporting a story, these people you connect with will share why they do what they do and will appreciate your support. year round farmer’s markets are a luxury for some, but for those who don’t have access to year round markets there are other options. shopping at a local market which sells locally grown produce or other goods is a great option. just make sure to put forth a little effort to read and look on packaging to see where the product is made.
community supported agriculture (CSA) is a rising trend in the farm to table movement. CSA’s are farms, which provide fresh local foods in a convenient and affordable way. the idea is each member buys into this co-op and the farmers provide you with freshly picked produce and other goods that are delivered to your door every week at an affordable and sustainable price. this method of supporting local helps create a stable connection between people and the food they eat, which often are lower than retail prices.
understanding that it is not always feasible, but to try your best when supporting local; these are a few ways in which you can support your local economy, but any little thing you can do will go a long way. i hope this post has triggered some awareness and inspired you to become a more conscious consumer.
never stop learning,