Have you ever wondered why buying local has become a mainstream trend? More and more people have begun to seek out options for locally sourced produce, meats, and other foods. But what does “buying local” really mean? In this blog, we will help you discover the importance of buying local foods, the endless health benefits of eating locally grown produce and livestock and why making this choice leads to a more sustainable environment.
Fresh, seasonal, sustainable & healthy are all terms that come to mind when talking about local foods. While the answer to this question may vary from consumer to consumer, local food is commonly known as products sourced from within 100 km. In turn, this means that the distance the food must travel is minimal, making freshness is incomparable.
On average, imported foods in Canada travel a minimum of 2,500 km before making it to your plate. In winter, this number rises to a minimum of 3,000 km with some foods reaching close to 10,000 km. How fresh can your food be at that point? Unfortunately, many preserving techniques come into play during this process, depleting freshness and nutrient levels. All the more reasons to educate yourself on buying local and getting the best bang for your buck! Plus, you can make meaningful connections with people in your community along the way.
It is up to you to decide what buying local really means to you. Maybe you base the idea on foods that are growing within your region, province or country. Alternatively, maybe your focus is on making connections with local farmers you can talk to and learn from. This could mean attending a local farmers market, such as St. Jacobs Farmers Market, or connecting through a local CSA. Lastly, for some, it is more about contributing to creating a sustainable world with values on small-scale and community-based initiatives. Whatever the reasoning, you should care! Understanding where your food comes from and what farming practices are being used is important for many reasons including:
When buying locally, products not only look better but taste better too! Have you heard the term “Farm to Table”? This idea relates to cutting out the middlemen (wholesalers/grocers) to provide better products to consumers. As we mentioned, the shorter the time between the farm to your table, the less likely you will lose out on freshness and nutrients. Local farmers are picking crops at their peak, and producing livestock products nearby at reputable facilities. It is especially important in regards to livestock, where farmers can oversee quality and confirm ethical practices are in place.
Buying local gives consumers a sense of assurance. Assurance that they know where their food is coming from, and knowing it hasn’t been sitting on a truck/plane or warehouse shelf for weeks before purchase. Subsequently, Did you know that when products are imported off-season, they are often artificially ripened using gases such as ethylene? Therefore, not only is buying local better – but safer! Luckily, if you have any questions or concerns, your local farmer is just a short drive, or a quick phone call away.
Food has increasingly become not of the leading drivers within climate change within Canada. In saying this, we can help reduce CO2 emissions by cutting back the distance food must travel. Remember – local food generally travels only 100km to the consumer, while imported products reach upwards of 10,000km. That’s a massive difference in the number of food miles.
Today, our society has become more suburban then ever. When you buy local, you are contributing to a proactive movement to preserve our landscapes. Compensating farmers fairly for the products they produce means they will be less likely to sell green space to make ends meet. By supporting your local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community for years to come! So you are not only maintaining the environment but also contributing to your local economy as well.
Farmers markets offer a plethora of products that could satisfy the needs of almost all consumers. Freshly picked produce, locally sourced meats, handmade items, and the list goes on. More importantly, it gives consumers a chance to create meaningful connections with local vendors. In other words, the experience becomes an educational one. Consumers can not only see food firsthand but also try the products to ensure satisfaction. Look up your local farmers market today!
Have you heard the term CSA and wondered what that entailed? Many people are investing in this idea that created benefits for both farmer and consumer. In terms of buying local, a CSA is an efficient and cost-effective way of getting fresh produce directly to your table. A CSA is a different way of getting fresh produce to your table. With a CSA, farmers organize and sell shares of their crops to customers. In turn, customers compensate the farmers fairly in order to subsidize these farms. Some CSAs will ship directly to their customer’s homes on an interval basis; others asked to be picked up at a nearby location. In conclusion, this is a great way to experience local, seasonal produce right from your own home.
Both farmers markets and CSA shares can be considered buying local. However, there is something nostalgic and humbling about visiting the farm in person. At Hilltop Acres, we firmly believe that there is importance in knowing your farmer and recommend visiting the farm where we produce our products. When buying direct from the farm, there is many benefits such as:
Fresher food is within your reach. Stop shopping for over-priced, imported products and reach out to a local retailer today.