Every day brings news of further food chain problems. However, there is a growing solution and you can be part of it either as a food producer or as a consumer by supporting your local food market.
Here’s why you should keep shopping locally with your local food suppliers:
- Distance. Shorter distances between production and market means you’re not adding to long-distance supply chains and the fossil fuels on which they depend.
- Regenerative farming. Many producers have overt principles around sustainable and – even better – regenerative farming practices. This sees land used to produce food improved by the hand of the producer, including sequestering carbon in higher quality soils.
- Local economy. Farmers’ markets add to community engagement and economics. A farmers’ market is a collective of little businesses, each employing people and working together to create a space for the community to come together around food. Money spent locally stays local and circulates value to more people.
- Landscape. Support for local farming can enhance the landscape. Many areas are ideally suited to smaller scale farming enterprises. These work with the local physical and climatic conditions to produce food that reflects location and place: a truly localized food culture.
- Packaging. Look around at the farmers’ market and notice how little packaging there is. Packaging – particularly plastic packaging – supports food safety and helps maintain freshness but the environmental damage is appalling. In short-chain food systems with fewer people and less handling, these issues are almost non-existent and so’s the packaging.
- Knowledge. When you shop at a farmers’ market and are buying direct from the producer, you also have the opportunity to learn more about that food. Why did they grow or produce that item? How? You can learn so much: growing, preparing, cooking and eating, enhancing one of life’s most fundamental pleasures.
- Freshness. Farmers’ markets deliver fresh products that haven’t been produced for long-term storage and still retains all its goodness.
- Seasonality. Seasonality is a fundamental aspect of living in and understanding where we live. Understanding what grows where and when is part of food literacy that is almost completely absent in a supermarket. Enjoy the fleeting flavours of the year at a farmers’ market!
- Connection to Country. All of us can connect to and care for our country especially by expressing what we are seeking from our food. Do you want food that is grown in a healthy, biologically functioning soil that is full of nutrients? If you care for your environment, do you want your food grown without pesticides and synthetic chemicals? Then what more fundamental way is there than letting your food grower know?