We’re fortunate to live in Christian County where there’s an abundance of locally grown produce, livestock and food and beverages readily available to enjoy. With this bounty though, it’s sometimes difficult to know the best way to support the local food movement and farms. Also, you know it’s good and noble to eat and support locally grown food, but what are the actual benefits to you, the community and environment?
At Giles Farms, we’ve been providing the community with fresh produce and natural farm experience since 1833. We’re here as a resource to educate so you can understand your produce options and how your food choices can help propel the community and a farm family forward. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits to eating locally grown food.
Local food has more nutrients. It’s all about the journey. Local produce grown to full ripeness has more nutritional value than conventional produce harvested early and ripened with chemical gasses in transportation. If your tomato is coming from a Christian County farmer, it has a shorter time between harvest and your table (sometimes just a matter of hours) and it’s less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. In fact, researchers at Montclair State University revealed that the vitamin C content of broccoli was cut in half when it was shipped from out of the country compared to when it was sourced locally.
Provides Economic Growth: Buying close to home is more than a feel-good, it’s-worth-paying-more-for-local matter. The New Economics Foundation, an independent economic think tank based in London, compared what happens when people buy produce at a supermarket versus a local farmer’s market or community supported agriculture (CSA) program and found that twice the money stayed in the community when folks bought locally. “That means those purchases are twice as efficient in terms of keeping the local economy alive,” says author and NEF researcher David Boyle. By supporting a Christian County farmer, you’re helping support other local business as they provide support services and products for the farm.
Lowers Carbon Footprint: American food travels an average of 1,500-2,500 from farm to table. In addition, 60-70% of the cost of your food goes into production inputs meaning fertilizer, oil/gas, water, transportation, storage and the use of limited resources to get food on your plate. In plain terms, there are real ecological impacts to what you eat for dinner and this should be a part of your prospective as you consider your food options. http://leafandfin.com/infographics/
The good news is that you can support the local food movement in different ways depending on your lifestyle. Here’s a few ways how:
- Patronize restaurants that serve food from local producers
- Buy local products. Find Kentucky Proud producers. http://www.kyproud.com/kentucky-proud-producers.aspx
- Join a CSA program by checking out Local Harvest or learn more at the Ky Department of Ag website.
- Shop at a farmers market
- Or better yet, grow a garden!
We’d love to hear from you! What benefits have you seen or would like to see from eating locally grown produce and food?