On our farm website, the first statement on the welcome page is “we’re a small, 10 acre farm in Northeast Ohio that believes locally grown, real foods are important” – but just why is locally grown food important?
- It’s Fresher – locally grown foods are usually purchased by the consumer within 24 hours of harvest. Produce shipped across the country isn’t nearly that fresh.
- Taste – locally grown food can be harvested at its peak; and produce picked and consumed at the height of ripeness tastes so much better!
- Nutrition – nutritional values start declining in food immediately after harvest, so locally grown food is more nutritional because it’s fresh. The nutritional difference in fresh food is often dramatic.
- Regional Health – buying locally grown food supports your neighbors, keeps money in the local community, helps protect farmland, and helps to improve everyone’s quality of life.
- Variety – farmers selling locally don’t need to grow the produce varieties bred for long distance shipping, high yields, and shelf life. Instead, they can grow and sell varieties that are the best tasting, most flavorful, and consumer preferred.
- Energy Conservation – one fifth of all petroleum now used in the US is used in agriculture. Buying locally decreases petroleum dependence because the food isn’t shipped across country.
- Community – eating locally allows consumers to know who raises their food and find out how it was produced. This promotes consumers influencing how and what food is produced.
- Stewardship – when you buy locally produced food, you raise the consciousness of friends and family about how food buying decisions can make a difference in your life and in your community.
Today, it seems that there’s a growing consensus that local foods are important; so we’re seeing more farmers markets and small farm operations. It’s so encouraging to see movement away from the large factory farming operations and toward smaller consumer influenced farming models.