Every person on the planet absolutely relies on food to survive and thrive. Farms exist in many communities around the world, producing food for millions of people in turn. Here in Southern Ontario, our neck of the woods, there’s a very rich agricultural and farming landscape. This means that there are lots of local farms offering extremely fresh produce and serving their respective communities with high quality foods. We’ve written about some benefits of local food in the past, but we’ll go into some more detail in this post.
There’s increasing consumer interest in knowing exactly where our foods come from. There are also common questions being asked about the percentage of foods transported from long distances versus the ones being produced locally. These are certainly great questions to ask and serve as a good starting point on the topic.
The majority of produce that the average Canadian consumes is imported from other countries. That’s a lot of food that travels a long distance before getting to the tables of consumers. Is one method absolutely better than the other? We won’t claim a definite answer to that question but we definitely see a lot of merit in going the local route. While the need for local food is growing, not everyone is fully sold on the idea. Furthermore, with better access to farmers’ markets and farm stores, people still have their reasons for choosing other options. With so many options available, it can be confusing for consumers to navigate all the options to find out what the best ones are.
Then, there’s the argument that regular non local foods and produce are more time saving and convenient because they suit busy work schedules and lifestyles more easily. However, we think that with a little bit of planning and creativity, anyone can make local work with their schedule.
As more people seek out local options for their food, they stand to gain the benefits of better health, as well as an opportunity to support their local farmers and local economy. While these are some of the standard benefits, it’s also possible to gain a deeper connection and appreciation of food by choosing to go local. Imagine getting your groceries with the knowledge that the food hasn’t traveled long distances to get to your table. Wouldn’t that be such a good feeling to be sure that your food is coming from highly reputable sources? We can certainly bet on that!
Let’s examine some of the reasons why you should start shopping local more often if you currently don’t.
We briefly touched on this, but this is one of the most positive things that comes from buying local. Believe it or not, food does play an important role in building bonds and fostering a strong community locally. Supporting local farmers, stores and restaurants also helps circulate wealth within a community. This is how real connections between local farms, businesses, and consumers are made and how trust is built.
Always remember that when you buy local, you’re making a positive impact on your community. Buying isn’t the only way to show support either. It’s a chance to really get to know your local farmers and learn about their growing process. There’s no better place to learn from.
Farmers’ markets, local farm stores, and local restaurants are places where you can really learn about where your food comes from. Through this learning process, there’s a reassurance that what you’re eating comes from ethical means. A deeper understanding of how the food is transported, where it’s coming from, and the process that goes into getting it from farm to table is also gained.
Buying groceries weekly or monthly can be very expensive. If you’re looking for a great way to make some savings, local farm stores and farmers’ markets are great ways to do just that because of how inexpensive food is there. You can really get more for less!
Additionally, most people don’t view regular grocery hauls as fun activities. it’s rather viewed as a necessary measure. If you fall into that category, you can add some excitement to the process by going out and meeting up with people in your community that love supporting local. You’ll find shopping in that atmosphere to be more welcoming than regular supermarkets and a breath of fresh air!
Local food produced much closer to home is more nutritious. Food produced this way is more than likely recently harvested. Eating high quality produce that’s in season also does wonders health wise. This may be because there are less pesticides and chemicals used to preserve the produce. There also tends to be more variety in farmers’ markets and farm stores than at supermarkets.
We didn’t write this post to bash non-local food options as there are valid reasons why those options exist. It’s also not always possible for everyone to buy 100% local food all the time. We do however like to see that sustainable agriculture and local food systems are continuing to grow in popularity. It’s not just a trend.
To conclude, it’s important to be intentional about the way we buy and what we eat. It’s very easy to minimize the story behind our food. Knowing even a small part of the story behind the foods we consume really makes eating much more fulfilling. More people should start looking beyond the surface and buzzwords. Instead, if there’s more promotion in the true values of consuming locally grown food, we’ll have a much stronger local food network and community.
If you’d like to know more about local food, come and check us out at the Farmers’ Market in St. Jacobs on Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:00 am till 3:30 pm. You can also visit us at our farm store in Bloomingdale to see what we’ve got in store!