Fall is here! The kids are back in school, temperatures are cooling down and the farmer’s markets are full of fresh, delicious produce. Most produce grown in the United States is picked 4-7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, traveling 1500 miles or more to get there. Produce can be traveling even longer distances when imported from outside the United States. All of this traveling can really rack up the “food miles”, increasing your ecological footprint because of the energy used to store and transport the food across the country or from around the globe. Extra packaging is required to keep the food in good shape while on the move. Instead of buying food that has traveled from all over, support your community by purchasing locally grown products. The benefits to locally grown produce are endless. Here are just a few of them:
- Buying local helps preserve the environment. Farmers selling directly to consumers are generally smaller, therefore use less energy and fewer pesticides/herbicides than industrial farms do. Energy and resources used to package and transport produce across the country is also saved.
- Buying local strengthens the community. Only 18 cents of every dollar spent at a large supermarket goes to the grower. Buying locally helps family farms stay in business, and your dollar stays in your local economy.
- Buying local increases freshness, flavor, nutrition, your health, your knowledge of growing practices, community connections, your connection to the land, the local economy, food security, farmers’ incomes and the health of our planet.
- Many local farmers practice organic growing methods, ensuring that your fruit and vegetables aren’t covered in pesticides and herbicides.
Cincinnati has many farmers’ markets throughout the week that make it easier for us to buy local. These markets are great for getting to know where and how your food was grown, learning new tips on how to grow your own food or preparing new dishes and connecting with your community. Check out the Central Ohio River Valley Food website (CORV) to download their guide for farms, farmer’s markets and other ways to eat local. Pick up a hard copy for $1 at locations throughout the city, including the Civic Garden Center, Findlay Market, Park+Vine and Marvin’s Organic Gardens.
Local Harvest (http://www.localharvest.org/)
Ready, Set, Green by Graham Hill and Meaghan O’Neill