As mentioned in our “What is a Locavore?” article we think that just about everyone is a locavore to some degree, and for that we thank you. We feel that there are plenty of benefits to yourself, your community, and the planet. We'll briefly elaborate on a few of the benefits of being a locavore now.
Local food is almost always fresher than food that has been shipped from afar. This increased nutritional value and vitality can be felt when you bite into the food. Local growers are also more likely to be concerned with your health, as well as their own, and are more likely to employ organic farming practices or at least less intensive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Small and medium scale local farms are typically less concerned with shelf life and transportability, and more concerned with flavour and diversity of crops. Each time we go to the market, we often see varieties or even species that we’d never heard of before. This ties in with our first point, health, as a varied diet is a healthy one.
Food brings people together, especially when you’re connecting with someone who personally grew the food you’re eating. Better yet, imagine being the one sharing your garden’s harvest with your friends, family, and neighbours. Tighter communities are happier, healthier, and safer!
When you shop at a chain store, how much of the money you spend stays within the community? When you buy directly from a food producer or a locally owned retailer, it's much more likely that the bulk of that money will be reinvested within the community.
You can also save some money by purchasing a CSA, growing your own food, or foraging for wild foods in your area.
People have different feelings on what type of food system is the most secure, and that’s okay! There’s an amazing amount of security that comes with a community being able to produce all of the food they need, or even being able to produce all of the food you need right in your backyard. Ideally, local producers would form the foundation of our food system, while less proximate producers would provide food during times of shortage (e.g. inclement weather) or specialty items (aka "treats"), such as chocolate or coffee, that cannot be produced locally.
There are definitive benefits to the environment when choosing local food over industrially produced food. Opinions on the carbon footprint of each alternative vary widely, which in itself suggests the science is unclear. What we can say is that local farms tend to promote healthier soils, healthier water, more diverse ecosystems, and the food does not travel as far to reach your plate. Support producers, markets and retailers that uphold environmental practices you agree with whenever possible.
Did we miss any benefits of being a locavore? Let us know in the comments below!