If you, like Bennett Kireker, have an interest in backyard farming, then you probably are probably already well-aware of the many benefits that come from eating locally-produced foods. There are many “eat local” movements across the country to encourage people to eat foods produced within a 200 mile radius, and while it hasn’t always been convenient to eat locally more and more small farmers are offering weekly deliveries of a selection of their produce to customers. This is a great option especially for people who can’t get to their local farmer’s market on a regular basis.
If you haven’t yet considered making a conscious effort to put more local foods on your dining room table, here are just a few of the benefits that come from eating locally.
Local food is usually organic
The chances are that locally-produced food will have been grown or raised following organic agricultural practices. Most importantly, organic practices involve using natural, non-chemical techniques to control pests, maintain soil health, and deal with weeds. As a result, eating locally-grown food is a great way to reduce your family’s exposure to the potentially dangerous pesticide residues that remain on much of the food we eat even after washing it. The chances are that your local farm will not be certified as organic because this can be quite costly – but there is no reason why you can talk to the farmer directly to find out more about the practices that are used on the farm.
Eating locally protects the environment
There are a number of ways that local eating is environmentally friendly. Most obviously, when organic practices are followed, there is a reduction in the amount of chemical run-off that finds its ways into our water systems or into our homes. Another major advantage of eating locally is that it helps to reduce the carbon footprint of the food we eat. This is because it tends to be produced using much less energy than conventional food, and also because it doesn’t need to be transported across the country to get from the farm to your table. Additional energy savings come from the fact that local food is picked fresh and is typically consumed very soon after. This reduces the time that it sits in refrigerators, either on trucks or in supermarkets.
Local food will rarely be GMO
Genetically-modified foods are the subject of considerable controversy. For every study that says there is nothing harmful about these foods, there are others that suggest GMO food is less nutrient-dense and may have harmful effects that we don’t currently understand. If avoiding GMO foods is important to you, you can rest assured that small farms are very unlikely to be growing GMO crops. This is because GMO crops are patented by large agribusiness companies and are very expensive for farmers to purchase and grow.
Overall, eating locally is a great way to rediscover “real food” as opposed to food that comes in boxes and bags at the supermarket. It is also a way to reconnect with the natural rhythms of seasonal eating. If local eating is an option where you live, these are just some of the reasons that you should give it a try!