Consumers that value fresh food and a working landscape can support local farmers by buying their products.
Why Buy Locally?
TEN REASONS TO BUY LOCAL FOOD
(adapted from ‘Growing For Market’ newsletter by Vern Grubinger, vegetable and berry specialist, University of Vermont Extension)
New Mexico has a wide variety of farms. There are many farms that raise fruits and vegetables, flowers and herbs, and animal products. Consumers that value fresh food and a working landscape can support local farmers by buying their products. Here are ten reasons why.
- Locally grown food tastes and looks better because crops are picked at their peak.
- Local food is better for you. A harvest of nutrient-rich goodness…Once harvested, produce quickly loses nutrients. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.
- Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors.
- Local food is safe. There’s a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or driving by the fields where your food comes from. Local farmers aren’t anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.
- Local food supports local families. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on the land.
- Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.
- Local food preserves open space. When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they’re less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you’re doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape. That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.
- Local food promotes energy conservation. The average distance our food travels is 1500 miles, mostly by air and truck, increasing our dependence on petroleum. By buying locally, you conserve the energy that’s used for transport.
- Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
- Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.