Local Food

Today, your food can come from anywhere in the world. The globalisation of the food industry has caused major changes in how food is produced, processed, marketed and supplied, and where and how it is consumed. The way food is produced has a direct impact on the vitality of rural communities and the quality of the environment, yet farming is increasingly treated like any other industry (Friends of the Earth, Get Real about Food and Farming)

Local food initiatives that go against globalisation offer a range of environmental, social and economic benefits. Local food is about reconnecting producers and consumers by shortening the supply chain and re-establishing trusting relationships. Growers and producers can now sell directly to consumers through a number of outlets which are described in the How to get it section.

10 Reasons to Eat Local Food:

  1. More for the local economy:

    According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a pound spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction. See the Community page for more info. (reference)
  2. Fresher, riper fruits and vegetables:

    Supermarket produce is likely to have been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, whereas local food bought at your local farmer's market or retailer has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. Freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time. So, rather than being picked before they are ripe and transported long distances in stacks of plastic packaging, foods like peaches and berries are not battered or bruised, they are off the farm or out of the garden, ripe and ready to eat.
  3. Save money:

    By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.
  4. The personal touch:

    Whether a local farmer who brings sells produce at market or a baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food makes it more enjoyable.
  5. Fewer "food miles":

    Food that is locally produced will dramatically reduce "food miles" – the distance food is transported from producer to consumer – which means less air pollution and therefore reduced impact on climate change. Local food will have travelled much shorter distances (for example, supermarket food travels on average 1000 miles, compared with just 30 to a farmers market); so it will be fresher (and probably a lot tastier for it)
  6. Better security:

    Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to deliberate harmful contamination. (reference)
  7. More variety:

    When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, it will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket. Supermarkets are interested in selling "Name brand" fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes. Local producers often change their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.
  8. A healthier environment:

    Without the pressures of meeting supermarket demands for produce on mass over a long period of time, crops can be "rotated" which means planting different crops in different fields, keeping soil nutrients mixed. By not planting a huge expanse of land in one crop and having to maintain it with chemicals, a broad range of wildlife can be supported.
  9. Responsible land development:

    When you buy local, you give those with local open space - farms and pastures - an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.
  10. It tastes better:

    For the same reason as food is fresher, it is tastier too – potatoes grown in your garden, tomatoes picked off the vine or blackberries off the bush – they have ripened naturally and have not had to sit in transit for days or weeks losing flavour.

For more information, we recommend the links below: