Is there really a difference between purchasing locally produced food and food from the grocery store?
Absolutely, and each of us are making those decisions everyday! Many of us in the United States have grown up with the year-round availability of hundreds or thousands of products to choose from no matter what season it is. Bananas in New York in the Winter? Yep! This is possible due to globalization. And while globalization offers the potential perks of variety, the consequences of such choices may not be as beneficial as we see on the surface.
So, what truly makes supporting local farmers, growers and artisans better? Here's a few reasons to start the conversation:
1. Eating local provides a more nutritionally dense diet.
More nutritious?! Likely! Did you know fruits and vegetables immediately begin losing nutrients once harvested? Once the produce is harvested enzymes begin to decompose and feed on the nutrients. According to a 2007 University of California Davis paper published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, vegetables can lose up to 77% of their Vitamin C within a week of harvest. What does this have to do with locally produced food? Well, the age of produce in a chain grocery store is typically 5-10 times the age of local produce and thus likely much less nutrient dense. Our goal is for families to receive produce within 48 hours of harvest to ensure the highest amount of nutrients possible!
2. Eating Local corrects an over-dependence on a globalized food economy with many shortcomings.
First, many commercial farmers around the world create highly mechanized production systems to save money which most often requires only growing one or two crops across hundreds or thousands of acres. This leads to a lack of ecological diversity which over-time destroys ecosystems, destroys the soils ability to produce healthy food and creates devastating moments such as the historic dust bowl. When we demand so much production from the land and do not in-turn invest back into it's health it will eventually negatively respond.
Remember, soil is living and holds the nutrients, minerals and vitamins that we need. We eat produce to receive those nutrients the plant extracted but the plants are also working to keep the soil healthy through harvesting energy from the sun and feeding the soil. It's worth noting that some plants are deep rooted and can mine deeper nutrients to share with other plants while other plants are shallow rooted. Therefore the more diversification of plants the more symbiotic relationships are occurring and the healthier the soil. Small-scale farms (who are often focused on selling locally) are able to grow a great diversity of crops and animals that bring health and a natural resistance to environmental pressures because they are not required to develop rigid, mechanical systems to accommodate for commercial production.
Finally, globalization can create a large anonymous veil for how companies are producing your food. This reality can lead to farms and companies adopting practices unaccountable to the consumer including questionable growing practices, mistreatment of workers and even slavery across the globe. The reality is when we are so disconnected from where our food comes we become unaware of the corners that are often cut with unethical practices to safe money. For example, did you know the USDA is reporting that 30-40% of the food grown in the United States alone ends up in a land fill due to quality loss, transportation damage, not meeting aesthetic industry standards (ex: a banana is required to meet a certain curvature to hit shelves!) and many more reasons.
Ultimately, the current globalized food system is broken and perhaps the answer is right in front of us in localized, small-scale food production. While there are certainly obstacles small farms face, we believe that the promotion and support of small scale, localized food production is one of main necessary steps towards a sustainable future.
Click Here to Sign Up Here to join our 2022 Winter CSA that runs November to February. We offer lettuces, kales, microgreens, cabbage, onions, carrots, eggs, medicinal tinctures and more each week for farm pick-up or delivery!