Buying from local farmers strengthens the economy, reduces environmental harm, and simply taste better.Less affected by global inflation, local foods are also becoming steadily cheaper than the corporate alternative.Since these foods travel less then 100 miles to the shelves, energy consumption and carbon emissions are reduced.Due to their short travel time the foods are also much more fresh, retaining more the vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.Most sell their produce and meat to local coops.These coops work with local farmers to help centralize and sell their goods.They also have much healthier and organic health standards for their products, assuring you are buy the best and healthiest foods.
In many cities, farmers also organize and hold local farmers market.At these open markets, farmers personally bring their own foods to sell at wholesale prices.It is a great way to have a better connection with the foods you eat and the people we depend on.Buying directly from the farmer also drastically reduces the cost.Instead of 1,500 miles and ten middlemen, there is only 50 miles and the farmer.The quality and nutritional value of these foods far exceed any of those internationally traded.Though these foods may not come microwave ready, the importance that we put aside our personal convenience for a greater cause to help the world is unprecedented.
With the recent recession, inflation at an all-time high and the environment in steady downfall, it’s time we start reconsidering how and where we buy our food.Caught up in big subsidized agribusiness, America has shied away from its local farmers.This trend of internationally trading food has brought a downfall to the American agriculture economy and the strength of our nation.The average distance each product travels to reach the grocery stores shelves of Kroger, Miejer, and Wal-Mart is over 1,500 miles.Coming from many less developed countries, over 40% of all fruits and 9% of all meat produces are from overseas.The growth and success of the international agribusiness has been at the expense of environmental degradation, huge oil and gas consumption, and cheap employment.
Many of the things we eat everyday are having a huge impact on foreign trade, lands, and people. These internationally imported foods are cheaper because of the inexpensive work and land in other countries.With a higher minimum wage and cost of living, labor in America is much more expensive then most countries.Land is also much cheaper in these regions due to the strength of the dollar.
In recent years, South America has been a big target for the increase of corporate agribusiness.Much of the massive deforestation in these countries has been to convert the rain forest into agricultural land.Not only does this eliminate a major contributor to the recycling of carbon emission, but it also destroys the world’s most complex and diverse ecosystem.The value of this land and the variety of life that inhabits it is beyond the importance of any food price or convenience.If not for the priceless ecstatic value, the rainforest is also a huge contributor to leaps in organic medical research.
Along with the deforestation, the over-use of this agriculture land is also a leading cause to global desertification.As soils are erosion because of poor agricultural management, deserts are quickly replacing these once productive lands.In all, this gross mis-use of land, energy, and people has led to a completely unsustainable global trade.Without cheap land, cheap energy, or cheap labor the system fails.And as its failure becomes more obvious everyday, it time for a change.
Time For Change
For past generations, the huge profits and cheap prices of the international agribusiness seemed like the obvious choice for food production.Yet, with the downfall of oil and increase in energy prices, the profitability and logic of international trade is dwindling.Lands all across the world have been abused to the point that they no longer produce food.The cheap wages and labor have kept third world countries from developing, strengthening, and feeding their own nation.Still, the problems hit just as hard here in America.The domestic agriculture economy has also taking a big hit since many people no longer buy local foods.In such a fragile position, energy and food have become matters of national security.Never in history has the world seen such a global, dynamic system of international trade.But as the complexities and globalizing of this system increases, so do its weaknesses.The failure of one aspect can lead to a collapse of the whole, leaving America very vulnerable.And as inflation and instability grows in the global market, is it becoming increasingly important we strengthen our domestic agricultural economy.By buying locally grown foods from local farmers, we bettering our health, strengthening the regional economy, increasing national security, and saving the global environment.
To find a local coop near you visit http://www.localharvest.org/food-coops/