Calling All Locavores
by Debra Kozikowski
From Lewiston, Maine and the Great Falls Farmers and Artisans Market’s Eat Local Week that begins on Aug. 4 to the 1st annual Missouri Local Foods Cooking Demonstration at the 2009 Missouri State Fair August 13th-23rd, cooking and eating local foods is all the rage.
Finding your area’s local harvest hot spots is trendy and socially responsible. But if being hip isn’t reason enough for you to jump on the locavore bandwagon and join the In-crowd at your regional Farmers Market and roadside stands then read on, you’re bound to find a good excuse to Buy Local!
Top 10 Reasons to Eat Local Food
10. Eating local means more dollars get pumped into the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.
9. Locally grown food is thousands of miles fresher. Fresh picked goodness is not only about taste, but the nutritional value which declines over time.
8. Buying, eating and growing local fruits and vegetables is politically correct. Not only are you getting peaches, melons, apples and berries perfectly ripe, not too hard or too soft but you are telling the world that you care. Being true to your home base will only enhance your chances at elective office –party registration be damned.
7. Eating local is even better for air quality than eating organic. Of course, the ideal is locally grown organic but a choice between the miles organics often travel to our plates creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic when local produce is available.
6. Buying local food helps our awareness of each seasonal bounty. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.
5. Buying locally grown food is part of the fabric of the community. Whether it’s the farmer who sells local apples and cider or the baker who makes local breads and pies, knowing part of the story about your food is enough to give anyone a warm fuzzy feeling about what’s for dinner.
4. Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism. Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination and other safety issues.
3. Local food growers offer more variety. When producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and is not burdened by high-yield demands, farmers are more likely to experiment with various fruits and vegetables. For instance, local farms often advertise dozens of apple varieties compared to grocers offering the standard Macs, Macouns, and Delicious.
2. Supporting local providers supports responsible land development. When you buy local, you give those with local open space – farms and pastures – an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.
And the Number 1 Reason to buy local foods.
1. Local food just plain tastes better! Have you ever tasted the burst of sweetness from an ear of Supersweet corn that’s been shucked and boiled less than 24 hours from picking? I rest my case.