There is a lot of talk about supporting LOCAL farmers and how consumers need to demand local products. What is local? What are the benefits? What are the disadvantages? Is local food better for me and my family? Today I hope to answer these questions.
What is local food? The definition can be tricky depending on your geographical location. In Auburn, Alabama, I would define local as any food grown/produced within 100 miles. You could also define local as any food from your state, the definition of local is really a matter of personal opinion.
What are the benefits or advantages of local food? Local food has traveled fewer miles to get to you and is likely fresher than foods which have traveled more distance. Here is the best part…if you want to know where your food comes from get to a Farmers’ Market and TALK to folks!! They are more than happy to talk with you. By going to Farmers’ Markets you get to know where your food came from, ask the people who have handled it what they do, may be even form a friendship, and support the local economy. Let’s face it, doesn’t matter where you are, the economy needs some help and a Farmers’ Market is a great way to support local people.
What are the disadvantages to local food? Simply, we can’t grow food year-round in most places. We rely on food distributors and grocery stores to ship the food we need during times when it is too cold or snowy to grow crops. But, summer is the best time to get fresh produce at your local Farmers’ Market!
Is local food better for me and my family? Nutritionally, there is no difference between the produce you get at a Farmers’ Market compared to the grocery store. The difference is you get to talk to the people who have grown the produce and picked it that morning to bring it to you at the Farmers’ Market. How cool is that?!
So what is the take home message? GET YOURSELF TO A FARMERS’ MARKET. Support local businesses, local farmers, neighbors, and friends. Experience the taste of a strawberry, blueberry, tomato, watermelon, or corn on the cob straight from the farm! If you are in the Auburn area, there is a Farmers’ Market every Thursday through August near the Ham Wilson Arena (corner of Lem Morrison and Donahue) from 3-6 p.m. If you are looking for a Farmers’ Market in your area, do an internet search for one, you will be surprised at how many pop up!