Second Opinion Magazine
Editor’s Note » September/October ‘10
Are you a locavore?
Do you seek out locally grown foods?
Do you want to help the environment by not having your broccoli shipped in from California?
If you answered yes to both of these questions, I would say you are a true locavore. Did you know that according to a study of Midwestern markets, most farmers market fare travels less than 100 miles, while most supermarket items travel 1500 miles or more to reach your plate?
The term locavore best describes people who live in California or Florida and have access to fresh, local, farm-raised foods everyday, but just because we reside in the beautiful season-changing state of Wisconsin, doesn’t mean we have to be satisfied with bland, unripened store bought fruits and vegetables. True, we can’t get local bananas, but we do have a plethora of wonderfully grown foods right here and they are plentiful now.
How Local Stacks Up The flavor of local foods is far better than those you find in the grocery stores. Local foods are picked at the peak of ripeness, so they taste better and have far more nutrients than shipped foods, which have to be picked before their time and ripen at the store on a truck bed. Most goods grown and shipped are not bred for flavor, but for the ability to last longer on shelves.
When you purchase farmers market fare, you can get acquainted with how the food was treated and grown, because you can talk directly to the farmer who did all the hard work.
The cost of local foods can sometimes be cheaper, because you are cutting out transportation costs; however, more often than not, the small farmer has higher costs than giant farm conglomerates, so bargains may be harder to come by. But for the quality of food you are receiving, the money is completely worth it and you are continuing to support your local community. A win-win situation.
Purchasing local foods helps the environment because you are lowering the number of miles traveled from farm to plate. This means less energy used for transportation, and less air pollution. Not to mention that the energy used by the amount of equipment used to grow and harvest acres and acres of bulk crop often exceeds the energy used in transportation.
The bottom line: support your local farmer. Getting to know the vendors at your nearby farmers market creates a relationship of trust and a sustainable community that everyone can benefit from. Farmers are allowed to produce quality foods that are better for you and your families all around. Buying locally also teaches our children where our food comes from and gives them an awareness about local economics and the environment.