Not only is the food delicious, but also I appreciate being able to buy from local farmers and vendors. There are several reasons why this benefits my family, and the local community, as well as me.
Benefits of buying locally
1. Transportation costs. The cost of fuel to transport foods from around the world to my local grocer is tremendous. One of the major drivers of food cost is transportation cost, and so buying locally can save money off my grocery bill.
2. Environmental impact. Not only does transportation cost money, but also it creates pollution. Vehicles used to transport foods rely on fossil fuels for energy, emitting greenhouse gases - a contributor to climate change.
3. Eating seasonally. Historically we had no choice but to eat food that was fresh in the current season. Today, we have access to many options 12 months throughout the year. For our taste preferences, that has great benefit. But I like the idea of getting back to eating within the seasons. Eating seasonally forces you to have greater diversity in your diet and allows for greater nutrient content when consumption can occur close to the time of harvest.
4. Community economics. Buying from local farmers helps to financially support the farmers and their families, which helps to support my local economy as well.
5. Knowing where food comes from. When I purchase directly from the farmer I can learn about their farming practices. Some farmers may choose to use sustainable and organic farming practices but may not have the financial ability to become certified organic. By talking to them I can learn how they grow their food and understand what I am really buying.
6. Food security. I want to have food grown in my area so there will always be food grown in my area. By supporting local farmers I am increasing the likelihood of them staying around for years into the future.
7. The farmer's market is a happy place. If you haven't experienced the joy of your local farmer's market, you must give it a try. There is no comparison to the experience of being outdoors with your neighbors shopping for fresh food. For some of the food purchases I need, being indoors in a fluorescent lighted store may be necessary, but the more I can enjoy the farmer's market the happier I will be.
Finding a local farmer's market
1. Minnesota Grown - online resource to find local farmer's markets in Minnesota.
2. FarmStand - app to find nearby farmer's markets when you are on the road.
3. USDA website - national farmer's market directory.
Talk with your local farmer's to learn where and how your food is grown. I know it will nourish your body and I believe it will nourish your spirit as well.