Reasons to Buy Local Food Essay
934 Words4 Pages
When we shop at our local grocery store we do not give much thought to where the food we are buying came from. We expect our favorite items to be readily available for our purchase but we do not think about what it took for those items to be on available to us. We do not consider the environmental and economic impacts that occurred to provide those items or how far these items traveled before arriving at the store. We do not think about the types of chemicals or fertilizers that were used to grow and produce the food but perhaps we should.
Let’s examine a meal consisting of shrimp cocktail appetizer, rib eye steak, macaroni and cheese, green beans, pineapple casserole, dinner rolls, and banana pudding. Some of these items traveled…show more content…
The same could be said of the dinner rolls we are serving as well. As consumers we also have the option of purchasing pasta that was imported from Italy. The cheese also gives us a choice to use traditional American; locally produced or imported cheeses from around the world to make our dish.
For items like green beans we would all assume that they were grown and sourced from a local farm but the United States imports around 13.3 percent of all fruits and vegetables (DiMartino, 2012). Fruits like pineapple or bananas are expected to be imported from countries in South America but for items like green beans we do not expect them to be imported from outside of the United States.
When considering where our food comes from it is equally important to consider how these items were grown and in what conditions. Fruits and vegetables outside of the United States have not always been held to the same standards as items produced domestically. The United States Food and Drug Administration issued new rules governing imported foods. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requires foreign food producers to follow the same safety and production standards as domestic producers. These standards will ensure that produce grown domestically or imported will be grown and harvested using the same safety standards (Dean, 2013).
Items imported like meat, poultry and eggs must adhere to The United States Department of Agriculture
What good does buying locally do?
- It stimulates the local economy. A 2002 study done in Texas showed that for every $100 that was spent in a chain bookstore, only $13 of it was put back into the local economy. But that same $100 spent at a local, independently owned bookstore put $45 back into the local economy. Think of that next time you're deciding to get your coffee from a large chain or the local corner coffee house.
- It helps locals keep their jobs.Most people who work in local businesses live locally. By buying from these places, you help your neighbors keep their jobs and that benefits your whole community.
- Local businesses give back locally. Do you know who sponsors the little league and softball teams in your town? I do. The local corner coffee house, the corner bar, the independent ice cream parlor (is it beginning to sound like I live in Mayberry? It's not a bad comparison). I also know who donates gift certificates and baskets when the PTA is holding an auction or someone is holding a beef and beer night to raise money for a local cancer patient. It's the same businesses that sponsor my sons' sports teams. By supporting these businesses, I help ensure that they can support the community.
- It's good for the environment. Less auto emissions occur when you're going only a few blocks (you could even walk or ride your bike) for what you need vs. traveling miles away to a big box store. If enough people buy locally, it could actually prevent a big box store — which usually devours open space and requires new roads to be built — from infiltrating your community.
If you're buying locally grown food, it’s really good for the environment because you're helping the small farmers keep their farms operational instead of shutting down and selling to developers.
- It promotes a sense of community. If you want to get to know your neighbors and others in your community, supporting the local businesses is a great way to do that. Going into my local coffee house is like walking into Cheers. I know the baristas and they know my name; there's one guy who is there every morning who always knows more about what I'm talking about than I do (or so he thinks); I run into other stay-at-home or work-at-home parents during the day; and the coffee is really good.