|Why Eat Local?|
|What does it mean to 'eat local'?|
|Health Benefits of Local Food|
|What's in season right now?|
In the last few years we have seen a number of stories about salmonella in our chicken, spinach and peanut butter.· Buying local allows you the opportunity to know your local farmer, to see how the animals are treated and processed, to look at the crop of upcoming vegetables, and to ask the farmer just how he or she goes about farming.
Larger scale industrial farmers do not have to look their consumers in the eye very often, and may prioritize profit over quality. ·Here are some of the benefits of choosing local foods.
Local Fruits and Vegetables:
- Are less likely to use excessive pesticides and chemical fertilizers. ·Pesticides and chemicals not only are dangerous for farm workers, but can also poison ground water and make drinking water dangerous. ·Pesticide residue on your food can also act as a dangerous carcinogen (i.e. it can increase your risk of getting cancer).
- Do not need to be shipped hundreds (or thousands of miles). ·Nutritional value may decrease during the shipping process. ·
- While food contamination risks are lower among small scale producers, it is also easier to contain damages when a food borne illness does occur.·Widespread recalls are unnecessary when you know exactly where you food comes from.
- Are more likely to raise animals in their natural habitat (i.e. free range). Industrial farms use CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). Putting the animals in confined spaces, which stresses the animals, reduces the quality of the meat or dairy, and increases the potential for the rapid spread of disease and sickness. ·For this reason, animals are often regularly treated with antibiotics. ·Overuse of antibiotics by farmers can lead to antibiotic resistent forms of bacteria in both animals and humans. ·This means the bacteria is so strong that we do not have an antibiotic strong enough to kill it.
- Free range animals eat the food they were meant to eat (like grass!) rather than corn based diets used in CAFOs. Corn-based diets help them gain weight as fast as possible, but also causes the meat from these animals to have more saturated (bad) fat. Since cows were meant to eat grass, the corn-based diet can make them sick which means more antibiotics.