By now we have all heard the term eating “local” but what does that really mean. The definition is pretty open depending on who you are talking to. While there is no clear definition the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 defines local to mean food shipped within 400 miles or food produced in the same state. Other local food enthusiasts may have even tighter mileage plan for what they consider local. Either way you slice it, local food means a shorter supply chain. In doing so, this provides a number of economic, environmental, social and health benefits including:
Benefits of Buying Local
- Decreased carbon footprint of food travel
- Keeping dollars within the local economy instead of sending your money to large corporation elsewhere in the world
- A greater sense of community by allowing us to communicate with the people growing our food
- More nutritionally dense as the nutrient value of produce begins to deplete as soon as food is picked. Local means a quicker farm to fork time and therefore fresher food.
- Ability to ask Farmer’s for recipes and try new produce not in the grocery store.
- The ability to ask how food was grown and farming practices – keep in mind local does not mean organic but you can ask Farmers if they use organic practices (actually being certified organic is expensive) or only spot spray when needed.
Looking for a local farmers market? Check out this national registry of farmers markets here. If you are in Denver, CO some of my favorite farmers markets include: Old South Pearl, Cherry Creek, Union Station, City Park, Stapleton, the Highlands Farmers Markets.