In today’s world of mass production, consumers expect their groceries to be affordable and easily accessible. With this system however, the quality of food products is comprimised and independent local markets are struggling for business. Supporting local food markets is crucial for the local economy and also promotes healthy living. The central benefit of buying locally grown produce and food is that you know where your food comes from. Often times, buying local food may even be more fiscal than buying from supermarkets. Locally grown produce and foods undergo very little processing, are more fresh, and are of higher quality. Farmers Markets’ meat products are derived from healthy animals that are not subjected to genetic modification, antibiotic, and or hormone treatments, which can be potentially hazardous to human health.
The United States has an agribusiness approach in the food industry today, making it harder for local farms to compete in the marketplace. Conventional supermarkets like Wal-mart and Meijer are examples of the agribusiness approach our country has today. According to an article posted on the local harvest organization website, “Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen.” The mayor of the city of Westland in metro Detroit, William R. Wild stated in a press release: “Statistics show that for every $100 you spend locally, $66 stays in the local community. That means your dollars are helping to build parks, libraries and improve fire and police departments.(1)” Investing your money in local produce and foods economically benefit the local community.
Another benefit of supporting local food retailers lies in the environmental impacts associated with buying locally. Conventional supermarkets transport produce huge distances from farm to store which affects the freshness of the product. Also, these long drives release significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Statistics show that food typically travels an average amount of 1,500 miles before it ends in a consumer’s plate. Transportation of food also produces more trash with the packaging of the foods. In contrast to local food markets, the development and perseverance of local farmland is healthy for our environment, as plants and trees produce oxygen and purify our atmosphere and less transportation is required. Food is grown locally and produce preserves its freshness as it quickly moves from farm to table.
All in all, it is both important and beneficial to support local agriculture. It is beneficial to both farmers and the community. I encourage you to seek out your local farmers markets and indulge in the delicious, fresh foods it has to offer!