Local food movements have been popping up everywhere and are gaining in popularity, so much so that advocates of this cause have been dubbed “locavores.” To some, it’s just a fad or marketing scheme; to others, it’s a passion and a culinary way of life. But, what was the original purpose behind the first local food movement (and subsequently OUR local food movement)? Perhaps looking at some of the benefits of local food systems can help answer that question:
- Local food keeps money local. By supporting local businesses that don’t have corporate headquarters to report back to, you’re helping to strengthen your local economy.
- It builds community and resiliency. Local food helps support local families while creating close-knit connections. Since you’re buying directly from the farmer, those families get to keep more of the profits compared to when you purchase your food at a grocery chain.
- It’s (usually) more humane. Not only is there more accountability and transparency in a local food system, but the farms are usually much smaller than their industrial counterparts. Once you step into the realm of mass production, animals are no longer living, breathing, sentient beings, but dollar signs. Time is money, so animals are pushed quickly and heartlessly through the industrial system, given unnatural foods in order to get them to market weight as quickly as possible, and being sent through an irresponsible and inhumane slaughtering system.
- It’s healthier. Many local farmers grow organically and ethically — they just don’t go through the expensive process of getting certified. But these farmers are usually taking better care of the land and soil which both directly affect the nutrients in our food. If the soil is unhealthy and depleted of nutrients, so will the food we eat be.
- It’s better for the environment. As just mentioned above, local, small scale farmers usually act as stewards of the land, so they work with it instead of against it. Many of them respect the natural life cycles of the earth and value nature’s diversity. In the corporate world, our food is grown in large monocrops instead of utilizing companion planting and creating ecosystems where they plant.