The number of reasons why we should buy locally grown food, is extensive. I had to refine them, so here is 7, one for everyday of the week!
Every day I challenge you to ask yourself; does the food you eat match this criteria for a healthier and happier community?
1. Local food tastes fresh and is better for you
Family farmers who sell directly to consumers listen to their demands and are generally open to changing the way they grow and prepare your food! For example most paddock to plate farmers are trying to eliminate use of antibiotics, hormones and chemicals on their farms. Buying directly from farmers allows you to talk to your farmers and ideally visit the farms where your food is grown to support those growing food with practices healthy for you and the environment. Also fresh produce loses nutrients quickly, therefor the earlier it is eaten the more nutrients and better it tastes.
2. Small businesses give back to the community
You don’t see local family farmers becoming large corporates! This is because when they do well financially, they put their time and money back into projects which improve our local community such as school events, local shows and fundraisers.
3. Local Businesses provide better customer service
To a small business your order is not just a number, you become a vital member of a healthy food community and even a friend. Farmers selling paddock to plate need to understand and know their customers to ensure they are offering a convenient service. Not only does buying food locally create friendships and connections, your order might be the difference between whether the farmer can afford the seed to regenerate her pastures or plant trees for a wildlife corridor.
4. Local food preserves the natural landscape
Connections between eater and grower are fundamental for healthier ecosystems, as the majority of land in Australia is used for grazing or farming. Time in nature is vital for our health, and by building friendships with farmers, you can take your family and friends to their farm for time on the land with their animals. Land close to the city left to grow food means less subdivisions and more wide open spaces easily accessible for city people to escape to for time in nature.
5. Locally grown food has less impact on the environment
Our carbon footprint can be reduced by eating food grown in a sustainable manner including grass fed rather than grain fed, low food miles (both to in production and as edible food), less processed food and implementing regenerative farming practices.
6. Eating locally grown food is investing in a sustainable future
More of your money goes back into farms when you buy locally grown food. This means more resources towards sustainable farming practices and one thing is certain; humans will always need to grow food for us to survive. Connecting with local farmers also allows the sharing of knowledge about topics such as native flora and fauna and nose to tail recipes.
7. Local food means a Safer Food Supply
A food supply chain reliant on one processing facility or one larger butcher is risky in terms of wellness and economics. Supporting other small businesses along the food supply chain ensures healthy competition to promote businesses to strive for efficient and best practice across all sectors such as animal welfare and waste management.
About the author: Zoe Smyth BVSc.
Zoe’s passion for sustainable agriculture, started from a young age growing up in outback Qld where she learned to appreciate the importance of the native flora & fauna and the role they play in the ecosystem where her parents’ sheep grazed. Zoe has worked as a veterinarian since graduating from a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at UQ. She founded the Free-Range Family Co-op to encourage local south-east Qld farmers to implement the highest animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.