People in Mississippi and around the country are starting to wonder, “Where does my food come from?” And naturally the question that follows is, “Does it matter?” The answer, of course, is, “Yes!” Choosing to eat locally has important health, economic, cultural and environmental benefits.
Eating Local Means...
Keeping local dollars in the community. On average, 85 cents out of every dollar spent at a supermarket goes to processors, marketers, and transporters. That leaves only 15 cents for the farmers themselves. A dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. Local food creates a genuine food culture, an affinity between people and the earth and farmers that feed them.
Fresher, healthier produce. Vegetables harvested, distributed, and eaten on the same day retain their nutritional value. In contrast, most supermarket produce endures long transit times and sits on shelves for days.
Better tasting food. Fresh food tastes fresh, old food tastes old...pretty simple! To respect the majesty of food, we must enjoy it at it's best!
Smaller carbon footprint. Because food doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to get to your table, the environmental impact is greatly reduced. Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has travelled approximately 1500 miles, further than most families go on their yearly vacation!
Seasonal eating. Eating what’s in season in your area offers produce at its peak - when it is most abundant and least expensive.
Safer food. Food that comes from just up the road is less susceptible to harmful contamination.
Greater variety. Small, local farms often offer greater and more interesting varieties than supermarkets. Think several kinds of kale, beautiful heirloom tomatoes, and a wide assortment of peppers. As Barbara Kingsolver writes in her (excellent) book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, "Heirloom vegetables are irresistible, not just for the poetry in their names but because these titles stand for real stories. Vegetables acquire histories when they are saved for many generations, carefully maintained and passed by hand from one generation to another."
Supporting sustainable land development. Small farmers who use sustainable practices are good stewards of the land. Unpolluted air and land yield high long-term health and economic benefits.
Building community. Local farms unify communities, offer educational opportunities and draw visitors from around the state, country, & world. Local Food is a handshake deal at a community market. It means farmers with first names; farmers growing trust.