Why Should We Eat Local
The 100 Mile Diet, a book by Alisa Smith and James (J.B.) MacKinnon, explains to us the importance of trying to eat in season and to work towards by eating foods grown by local and regional farmers and the need to expand agricultural food production near Cities and communities to provide a local source of food.
If you don't have time to read the book here are some quick reasons!
1. Taste the difference.
At a farmers’ market, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours. It comes to you ripe, fresh, and with its full flavour, unlike supermarket food that may have been picked weeks or months before. Close-to-home foods can also be bred for taste, rather than withstanding the abuse of shipping or industrial harvesting.
2. Know what you’re eating.
Buying food today is complicated. What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was that chicken free range or did it grow up in a box? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers. Many build relationships with farmers whom they trust. And when in doubt, they can drive out to the farms and see for themselves.
Clips and write up about food safety, imported foods and uncertainty with food labelling regulations.
3. Meet your neighbours.
Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets have 10 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Join a community garden and you’ll actually meet the people you pass on the street. Bathurst Sustainable Development is discussing with the City of Bathurst establishing a community garden program in our City. We hope to have news soon about a pilot project and the first community garden in Bathurst.
4. Get in touch with the seasons.
When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember that cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and pancakes just make sense–a lot more sense than flavourless cherries from the other side of the world.
5. Discover new flavours.
Ever tried parsnip stew? Succotash? Or Hodgepodge? These are many new flavours and foods that we can eat in season, store, and freeze or prepare for the winter and many new food items that many of us have never tried but are grown right here in our region. For example count the types of pear on offer at your supermarket. Maybe three? Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties–while more than 2,000 more have been lost in our rush to sameness.
6. Explore your home.
Visiting local farms is a way to be a tourist on your own home turf, with plenty of stops for snacks.
7. Save the world.
A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country. The ingredients for a typical meal, sourced locally, traveled 66 times fewer “food miles than imported foods”.
Eating and depending on imported foods from outside our region and country burns much more fossil fuels to get to our plates when compared to eating local foods and is contributing to global climate change.
Here is a comparison of one day’s typical meals comparing the number of miles and carbon footprint when we eat imported foods compared to when we eat local foods.
Film Clip of two different meals, total number of miles to transport items to our plate and CO2 emissions per meal compared to a day of eating locally or regionally grown foods.
8. Support small farms.
Many people from all walks of life dream of working the land–maybe you do too. In areas with strong local markets, the family farm is reviving. That’s a whole lot better than the jobs at Wal-Mart and fast-food outlets that the globalized economy offers in North American towns.
Farms are the backbone of civilization. If there no farms many people across the globe and in City would not be able to eat since they do not have backyard or community gardens and are completely dependent on what the farms produce.
In our quest to live more sustainably we all must become more accepting of farming and encourage sustainable farming to take place closer to Cities and town. A truly sustainable City has miles of vibrant, healthy farms surrounding the urban center.
As we continue with urban sprawl, we are destroying our future farm land and our own food supplies. Keeping our dependency on such countries as China to supply us with over 50% of our food supplies is unsustainable. We must encourage more local farming to begin, encourage and support farming families, be more tolerant of the sights and smells of farming seasons and be willing to demand that our local supermarkets purchase more locally grown food products and less imported products.
For Example, in Bathurst, none of the major supermarket food supplies carry any fish caught in NB. Your option is to buy your fish directly from you local fish market or farmer’s market fish vendor.
We encourage you to visit your local Farmer’s Markets, search out and make a list of local suppliers of food and consider growing a garden either in your backyard or help to start a community garden if you are an apartment dweller with no yard.
9. Give back to the local economy.
A British study tracked how much of the money spent at a local food business stayed in the local economy, and how many times it was reinvested. The total value was almost twice the contribution of a dollar spent at a supermarket chain.
10. Be healthy.
When we eat locally grown foods, we tend to eat more vegetables and fewer processed products, sample a wider variety of foods, and eat more fresh food at its nutritional peak. Eating from farmers’ markets and cooking from scratch is always the best way to go. Visiting U-Pick Farms in season is also a wonderful form of exercise and a great family outing.
11. Country Homesteading and Creating memories.
Spending a night making jam with friends will always be better a time than the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Many of the traditions associated with preserving foods, condiments, pickles, jams, preparing and storing fruits and vegetables and quickly being forgotten by today’s youth. Many have never participated in making pickles, canning fresh tomatoes, growing a vegetable garden and other culinary pastimes. Learning and participating in growing our own foods in a backyard garden is important to helping us all live more sustainability.
12. Have more fun while traveling.
Once you’re addicted to local eating, you’ll want to explore it wherever you go.
13. Increased Food Safety and Security
When we have a storm in our region or there is a disaster in a country that usually supplies us with produce, take note next time just how quickly our local supermarket chains run out of certain food staples such as fresh vegetables.