For centuries people have eaten farm to table without a question nor thought about what countries their food came from around the world. However, as refrigeration and transportation have connected us, we’re able to ship across hemispheres eating fruits and vegetables year round as well as foods from regions not native to our own. While it’s a beautiful thing, opening our palates to flavors from other cultures, it’s not always the most sustainable as costs of transport, production and use of fuel fly sky high despite relatively low costs for the consumer.
The idea behind farm to table is to bring back eating seasonally (different for each region of the world!) and cutting back on the transport time and distance our food travels before reaching our plate. Keeping the short distance between where we purchase our food and where we eat it also assures that the nutritional value remains higher, providing us with essential vitamins and sustenance we need to thrive!
So why is buying and eating local better all around? This list found on Strolling the Heifers helps break it down for us and also shows the numbers for each state and how strongly they support buying local and the farm to table concept. Maine ranks at Number 2 ~ we’re so proud!
1) Local food travels much less distance to market than typical fresh or processed grocery store foods, therefore using less fuel and generating fewer greenhouse gases.
2) Because of the shorter distribution chains for local foods, less food is wasted in distribution, warehousing and merchandising.
3) Local food is fresher and healthier, spending less time in transit from farm to plate, and therefore losing fewer nutrients and incurring less spoilage.
4) Local food encourages diversification of local agriculture, which reduces the reliance on monoculture — single crops grown over a wide area to the detriment of soils.
5) Local food encourages the consumption of organic foods and reduces reliance on artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
6) Local foods build local economies by circulating food dollars locally and creating local jobs by supporting family farms and local food processing and distribution systems
7) Local foods create more vibrant communities by connecting people with the farmers and food producers who bring them healthy local foods. As customers of CSAs and farmers markets have discovered, they are great places to meet and connect with friends as well as farmers!
8) Local foods promote agritourism — farmers markets and opportunities to visit farms and local food producers help draw tourists to a region.