FoodReference.com Logo

FoodReference.com   (Since 1999)
 

Food Articles, News & Features Section

Home       Food Articles       Food Trivia       Today in Food History       Recipes       Cooking Tips       Videos       Food Quotes       Who's Who       Food Trivia Quizzes       Crosswords       Food Poems       Cookbooks       Food Posters       Recipe Contests       Culinary Schools       Gourmet Tours       Food Festivals & Shows

  You are here > 

HomeFood ArticlesOrganic, Local & Ethical Foods >  Eating Locally & the Environment

 

CULINARY SCHOOLS &
COOKING CLASSES

From Amateur & Basic Cooking Classes to Professional Chef Training
Over 1,000 schools & classes listed for U.S., Online & Worldwide

Culinary Posters and Food Art

EATING LOCALLY

 

Local Food Producers and Environmental Quality

Dear EarthTalk: Why do environmentalists advocate that people “eat locally?” I don’t understand the connection between patronizing local food producers and environmental quality.
-- Timothy Douglas, Burlington, Vermont


In our modern age of food preservatives and additives, genetically altered crops and E. coli outbreaks, as with the recent spinach debacle, people are increasingly concerned about the quality and cleanliness of the foods they eat. Given the impossibility of identifying the pesticides used and the route taken to grow and transport, say, a banana from Central America to our local supermarket, foods grown locally make a lot of sense for those who want more control over what they put into their bodies.

John Ikerd, a retired agricultural economics professor who writes about the growing “eat local” movement, says that farmers who sell direct to local consumers need not give priority to packing, shipping and shelf life issues and can instead “select, grow and harvest crops to ensure peak qualities of freshness, nutrition and taste.” Eating local also means eating seasonally, he adds, a practice much in tune with Mother Nature.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Eating locally-grown foods

“Local food is often safer, too,” says the Center for a New American Dream (CNAD). “Even when it’s not organic, small farms tend to be less aggressive than large factory farms about dousing their wares with chemicals.” Small farms are also more likely to grow more variety, too, says CNAD, protecting biodiversity and preserving a wider agricultural gene pool, an important factor in long-term food security.

Eating locally grown food even helps in the fight against global warming. Rich Pirog of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture reports that the average fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to get there. Buying locally-produced food eliminates the need for all that fuel-guzzling transportation.
 
Another benefit of eating locally is helping the local economy. Farmers on average receive only 20 cents of each food dollar spent, says Ikerd, the rest going for transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and marketing. Farmers who sell food to local customers “receive the full retail value, a dollar for each food dollar spent,” he says. Additionally, eating locally encourages the use of local farmland for farming, thus keeping development in check while preserving open space.
 
Portland, Oregon’s EcoTrust has launched a campaign, the Eat Local Challenge, to encourage people to eat locally for a week so they can see---and taste--the benefits. The organization provides an “Eat Local Scorecard” to those willing to try. Participants must commit to spending 10 percent of their grocery budget on local foods grown within a 100-mile radius of home. In addition they are asked to try one new fruit or vegetable each day, and to freeze or otherwise preserve some food to enjoy later in the year.
 
EcoTrust also provides consumers with tips on how to eat locally more often. Shopping regularly at local farmers’ markets or farmstands tops the list. Also, locally owned grocery and natural foods stores and coops are much more likely than supermarkets to stock local foods. The Local Harvest website provides a comprehensive national directory of farmers’ markets, farm stands and other locally grown food sources.

Earth Talk

CONTACTS:
Center for a New American Dream, www.newdream.org/consumer/farmersmarkets.php
 Local Harvest, www.localharvest.org.
 
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881 USA; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/; or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com . Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php
 

TOP 

RELATED ARTICLES

   Organic, Local & Ethical Foods        U.S. Consumption Habits        Cultivating a Better Food System        Is Organic Food Healthier?        What are the Growing Green Awards?        Sustainable Food & Organic Farming        Agriculture Report Highlights Organic Sector        Bananas & Rainforests        Bulk Foods Are Green        Canada’s Organic Rules        Chicken, Organic Pasture Raised        Cow Pies to Clear Skies        Eating Locally & the Environment        Eco Friendly Dinnerware        Fast Food Recycling        Fish, What to Avoid        Garlic: California or China?        Generation Organic        Genetically Engineered Alfalfa        Good Food Awards Entries        Health & Safety Advantages of Organic Food        Labeling GM Foods: Prop 37 Defeat        Local Food and Supermarkets        Local or Organic? A False Choice        ---Local or Organic? pg 2        Location, Location, Location        Nourishing The Planet Innovations        ----Drip Irrigation Innovation        ----Innovation: Toilet Compost Fertilizer        Organic Farming        Organic Foods        Organic Foods Guide        Organic Foods Reduce Cancer Risk        Organic Food Sales Increase        Organic Food Health Benefits Research        Organic Labeling & Cloned Animals        Pros and Cons of Biofuels        Protein Sources & Environmental Impact        Reverse Trick or Treating        Seattle's Flying Fish Restaurant        Slow Food        Sugar, Sustainable Sugars        Sustainability Award Winners 2012        Sustainable: What does it mean?        Think Globally, Act Locally pg 1        ---Think Globally, Act Locally pg 2  
   Home       About Us & Contact Us       Food Articles       Magazines       Food Links  

Please feel free to link to any pages of FoodReference.com from your website.

For permission to use any of this content please E-mail: james@foodreference.com

All contents are copyright © 1990 - 2014 James T. Ehler and www.FoodReference.com unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved.

You may copy and use portions of this website for non-commercial, personal use only.

Any other use of these materials without prior written authorization is not very nice and violates the copyright.

Please take the time to request permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

POPULAR PAGES

FREE Food & Beverage Publications
An extensive selection of free magazines and other publications for qualified Food, Beverage & Hospitality professionals