I want to talk a little bit about locally grown food and why that’s a better choice.
When you’re shopping in the winter, do you think “Where are these strawberries coming from?” Well, that is a good thought. Have you ever noticed that fruits and veggies out of season don’t taste so great? That’s because they were picked before ripening and then shipped several thousand miles to your store. When you buy something that was grown locally, you can taste the difference. Local food is fresher and tastes better than food that has been trucked or flown in from thousands of miles away confirms The Spruce. The produce will look the same, but you can’t beat the taste of locally grown foods. And, quite often, you don’t have to spend more to buy local.
When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have discloses Entrepreneur.com. Also, shopping seasonally is the key to fresher, tastier, and less expensive produce. We were in San Diego for spring break and I was thrilled to be able to visit the local farmer’s market. I found some organic strawberries that were grown locally and tasted wonderful. I think my son ate a basket full on the walk home.
Buying locally grown produce is also great for the community. So whenever possible, show your farmer’s markets to get fresh produce. It will also help you understand how to eat seasonally. If your farmer’s market starts in spring and runs through the fall, you’ll see the produce change through the season. Eating with the seasons is something we have lost with our supermarkets filled with foods shipped from 3,000 miles away.
This is interesting. It turns out that in the US, 25% of the money spent on groceries (not just produce) is spent at Walmart. Can you believe that? So, you know that money is going to pay for Walmart’s overhead, expenses and the billionaires who own Walmart. Very little of that money will actually go to the Walmart employee. Whereas, buying from you local farmer goes to supporting that local farm. Buying local supports your community and your environment.
Saves the environment
Speaking of the environment. Did you know that if you replace just a couple of meat meals per week with veggie meals, you’ll be helping to save the environment?
Modern meat production is rather harsh on the environment. Think about how cattle raising has changed. Cows used to roam the pastures grazing on grass and then fertilizing the soil, more grass would grow and the cows would eat. Now, cows are fed corn, GMO corn to be exact, in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO). It’s like city living for cows. Corn is cheaper than grass because we have an excess of corn production in this country. I won’t go into those details, but you can easily read more about government subsidies for corn production. Because a CAFO is like tightly packed apartment living, they can produce a higher yield in a lot less space. Corn fattens a cow much more quickly than grass. That is beneficial to get them to market in less time.
So how does this impact the environment?
Well, sun grows grass, but to grow acres of corn, the farmers use lots of fossil fuels. They use pesticides and fertilizers, trackers and other machinery to harvest and transport the corn. Fossil fuels are a big contributor to global warming. The other issue is the large amount of manure that collects in these CAFOs. There are lagoons of it, which harm the air and water for miles.
Tell me about it. On the drive home from San Diego on highway 5, we passed that enormous cattle factory. Gosh, we could smell it for miles before we even saw it.
Locally Grown Food won’t make you sick
Living in crowded conditions, the cows are more susceptible to disease. How do you solve that? They feed the cows antibiotics of course. Can you believe that 80% of the antibiotics used in the US are used in commercial animal production? Overuse of antibiotics in this way leads to antibiotic resistant bacteria. If bacteria is resistant to an antibiotic, which means it can’t be treated.
What if you just ate veggie meals for 2 times per week? When you compare a kilogram of beef to a kilogram of broccoli, you’re looking at 27 kilograms vs 2 kilograms of greenhouse gasses added to the environment. Wow, now that’s a huge difference and can add up quickly. Meats differ in their impact on the environment. Chicken production is more energy efficient that beef production. If you are going to eat any meat, choose free range and grass fed/finished. There is a difference in cattle that are grass fed vs grass finished. You want to eat the cow that spent their whole life in the field. Entrepreneur.com says when you buy from local farmers, you have access to fruits and vegetables that you know are chemical free, as well as grass-fed meats, fresh eggs, and dairy from cows that feast on local green grass each day.
The message is clear. Eat more veggies and make sure they are locally grown as much as possible.