Here at the U.S. Green Chamber we are challenging ourselves to eat only locally produced food for the month of July. You may have heard terms such as “locavore” or “The 150 Mile Challenge.” What you may not understand is why this is an important movement. Here are a few reasons why local eating is better for the environment and your personal health:
- Reduced carbon footprint: Most food travels 1500 miles to get to our table, that equals a lot of air pollution from transportation.
- It boosts the local economy: Not only does your money stay in your community, farmers are making more off their produce since they eliminate packaging, transport, and middle man costs (90 cents of every food dollar goes back to the farmer when you buy local, versus 20 cents when you purchase from a farming conglomerate).
- Your food is fresher and riper when you get it and thus contains more nutrients. Since it passes through fewer hands, it is less susceptible to contamination.
- Small farms tend to use fewer chemicals, if any, and have a greater biodiversity which is important for long term food security (about 97% of vegetable varieties grown in 1900 are now extinct–according to the Rural Advancement Fund International (RAFI)).
- Farms and pastures preserve open-space and keep the land out of the hands of large development.
Truly this subject falls within the USGCC’s realm of concern as something that affects health, the environment, and the economy. We encourage you to learn more and take the challenge with us. Even just committing to checking out your local farmer’s market this weekend will be making a difference.