After reading the article, “Is Local Food Bad for the Economy?” in Maclean’s magazine, I was taken aback that two individuals were attacking the idea of buying locally grown foods from the farmer down the road. The two authors, Pierre Desrochers and his wife Hiroko Shimizu, of Locavore’s Dilemma argue that the rising interest of growing our own food or buying it from the Farmer’s Market is not only going to impact our economy but also has the potential to spread illness and disease. I can only imagine the response from every food advocate (including myself) who believes that the majority of the food coming out of grocery stores are damaging to the environment and deteriorating the health of society will have to this book. Here are three reasons why you should buy locally-grown foods.
- We are in a position where we are no longer able to adequately feed and nourish our families on our own, therefore, we are dependent on grocery stores to get what we need. That is just the way it is. Nearly 100 percent of what we eat is produced by someone else. On top of that, mega-food companies also need to buy the raw materials to produce their food products. As we move further and further from the process of food-making we have no idea where it comes from or what is in it. We essentially lose all power or say on the mechanics of how food is grown and raised. With the new development of the agri-business we are now seeing major issues where soil is being depleted, pesticides are impacting the ecosystem, plants are no longer in their original natural state and one company is gaining the rights over farming by patenting seeds. Seeds produce life and is it a good thing for one company to have entitlement over life? Because the consumer has been so far removed from the equation of food processing for so long the food industry took it to a place that meets their needs and interests which don’t necessary match ours. Buying local you have the opportunity to meet face to face with the producer and obtain the information you need to make a well-informed decision about buying their food or food-products. You also can go back to that farmer and give feedback. The farmer has to take responsibility for their products as they understand the value of word-of-mouth advertising. I know some farms where they even give you a tour in order to show transparency and offer assurance to their customers. This puts you in a position of power and control of what comes in your house and down your gullet. But most of all, it speaks to the fact that we are becoming aware of the negative impacts of high yield crops and no longer the naïve consumer.
- It is very unlikely that we will be living solely on locally-grown foods, however, I feel it would be beneficial to introduce some into your weekly diet. There is a lot of literature stating that our modern foods are negatively impacting our health. Majority of us are now eating refined processed foods on a daily basis. Our hectic lifestyles have made processed foods desirable in the fact that they don’t have to be prepared in any fashion. All we have to do is open a package, pop it in our mouths and off we go. The thought of preparing and cooking food seems like a drag and time-waster and we not willing to do it at the expense of our health. Visiting your local farmer’s market I think you will be pleasantly surprised. There is not only fresh fruits and vegetables at your local market but prepared foods made from fresh ingredients. Some of these ingredients are even grown from the producers themselves. Now you may think that it is an expensive way to feed yourself or your family, however there are ways to stretch it out. You can supplement some of these food products a couple times a week. Also you can add more ingredients to increase the meal size. One trick I do with a beet salad is add more lettuce or fresh vegetables. You can add more broth to soups or throw the lentil salad into a wrap with some chicken. By eliminating more processed junk foods and adding more fresh nutrient-dense foods to your diet you will increase the quality of your health. You will not only be improving your health but allowing these local farmers and producers to continue to provide their community with good healthy foods. You can learn more ways on how to feed a family of four in a healthy manner on a cheap budget in my book, Eating Myself Crazy.
- Am I the only one or does anyone else think locally-grown foods taste better? It is sad to see that kids today don’t know how fruits and vegetables should really taste. Sadly, produce in grocery stores has lost its flavour, which may be why some kids are resistant to eating them. Some of it could be that the produce was picked weeks ago when they weren’t even ripe or the fact that plant cells shrink after fruits or vegetables have been picked. Produce that has been sitting in a warehouse, then transported to its grocery store location has lost not only freshness but the nutrients our bodies are dependent on. Produce at your local farmer’s market has been picked at their peak freshness and brought straight to the market. This not only decreases the chance of nutrients being lost but you are also eating fruits and vegetables when they are ready to be eaten. Another reason some produce in the stores are tasteless is because the soil they are grown in is depleted of the mineral the plants need to thrive and develop. Therefore if the soil doesn’t not sufficiently supply the plant what it needs, the fruit or vegetable that eventually comes from it will be lower quality. There has been a study showing that produce today does not have the nutrients today what they had decades ago. Therefore, if the plants are being deficiently fed by the soil they grow in then we will be deficient of the nutrients that we need. Local farmers understand this and build their soil hoping to produce high quality fruits and vegetables. They not only do this for their customers but for their own families as they are eating the same foods we buy from them. For experiment sake try eating a baby carrot from the farmer’s market compared to the packaged baby carrot you get at the grocery store. Better yet, see what the response is from your child.
I hadn’t read the book, Locavore’s Dilemma, which is a take off on Omnivore’s Dilemma, but the article was enough to determine that the authors’ aren’t big supporters of local farming. In fact, they are concerned with the fact that is growing in interest. Yes, I agree that we probably won’t thrive as well as we are if we all moved back to the farm but I believe the “new trend” of buying local gives us little guys a chance to speak out, advocate and have a little bit of power over the unethical powerful food conglomerates whose sole interest is making gobs of money. Balance is always a good thing.