Where does your food come from? If you live in most parts of the United States or Canada, you probably can’t answer this question with much accuracy, and this is doubly true when talking about meat. Livestock and poultry are often raised and processed thousands of kilometers from where they will eventually be sold, which is one of the reasons why raising meat is so carbon-intensive.
The local food movement arose in response to growing concerns about industrial food, and over the past twenty years has become a powerful force shaping how North Americans raise, shop for, and consume food. Here are three reasons why:
1. Local Food is Better
Large farming operations tend to be part of international processing networks, but when you buy local, you are much more likely to be supporting a smaller-scale farming operation that raises a more artisanal product that is less processed.
For example, if you want to find out what brand of bacon is nitrate free you will probably have to do some research. But if you do your shopping through a local meat delivery service, this information will be readily available, and local meat services can delivery nitrate free bacon straight to your door as part of your regular order.
Non-processed or minimally processed foods are much healthier and taste better, so if you want to make sure you’re getting the best quality, buying local is a good idea.
2. Local Food is More Environmentally Friendly
As it becomes increasingly clear that climate change represents an existential threat to human life on the planet, many North Americans are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Because it is so intensive, and because it requires cattle and beef to be shipped across long distances, factory farming is a major driver of climate change emissions, and in countries like Brazil, the beef industry is also driving deforestation of the Amazon.
For these reasons, buying local beef from farmers committed to environmentally friendly practices is a great way to cut back on how much carbon you use without having to drastically change your lifestyle.
3. Local Food Supports Local Farmers
Much has been written about the impact industrial agriculture has had on the family farm, and if you want to support local operations that are embedded in your community and committed to its flourishing, buying local is one of the easiest ways to do so.
Buying local doesn’t just support local farms, however; it also plays a vital role in keeping rural communities alive, providing more opportunities for young people to find work close to home.
The good news is that eating local doesn’t need to be difficult. A growing number of companies are building a name for themselves by offering local food delivery that connects customers eager to support more sustainable farming practices with farms that are committed to a more environmentally friendly approach.
If you want to improve your diet while helping the local economy and reducing your carbon footprint, consider making a commitment to spend the summer exploring local food options. You’ll be very happy you did!