The program “Buy fresh buy local” is owned by PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture). The principal brand of the local food movement in the USA, its aim is to strengthen regional food systems by expanding markets for locally produced food. It also supports local producers, productive farmland, rural economies, as well as retailers, restaurants and food businesses, while helping consumers find local products easily.
Why is it important to buy local food?
Buying local food greatly helps in safeguarding the environment. Locally sourced products travel approximately 27 times less distance than conventionally sourced products. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, and so are packaging materials. Fruits and vegetables shipped from other countries can spend up to seven to fourteen days in transit before arriving at the supermarket. In addition, local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped over long distances from other countries, and it helps strengthen the local economy because buying local food circulates money within the country. Independent family farms provide more local employment and contribute to the local economy at higher rates than large corporate-owned farms. Products picked and consumed at full maturity have exceptional flavor and, when handled properly, are packed with nutrients. On top of that, by buying local we support family farms in danger, making sure that the money we invest in local food goes directly to local farmers. For the protection of oneself and one’s family, it is also important because we know where the food comes from, so we can choose our food from farmers who certify that they avoid chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seeds. Buying local has never been easier.
How to buy local food?
In order to have an impact, you need to start with about $10 a week. It is important to know where the products come from, so don’t hesitate to ask who the farmer or the fisherman is. All the products are available locally, whether it is food (fruits, eggs, honey), drinks (wine, vodka), or even flowers. Moreover, eating with the seasons means eating more tasty and nutritious food. Many restaurants serve local produce, so going to the restaurant and asking the waiter for local dishes is an added support to local restaurateurs. Another way to eat local is to grow your own foods such as salad, peppers, tomatoes, herbs. This will save you money, but they are also products that you may not be able to find in local stores. It is possible to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture); this system consists of paying in advance for a season of local food in order to receive a weekly share. In order not to spend too much, because we know that buying local means investing more money, reducing trips is one way. Local markets are usually in the center of the town or village, so walking or cycling to them seems reasonable. Finally, it’s good to plan the amount of food you need so that you don’t waste it. To do this, we make a planning in advance of the meals and we go to the market or to the farm or to our official producer.
Finally, this innovative “buy fresh but local” concept has many advantages. It advances the economy within countries, it reduces pollution considerably, and it is also good for everyone’s health and for the environment. Thus, consuming, cooking, and producing locally is an effort to protect ourselves and our surroundings. It is a way to stay healthy, physically and financially.