In recent years you’ll have seen the word ‘local’ appear in shops and farmers’ markets, or on the specials boards outside cafes and delis. You know somehow that local means better, but have you ever stopped to consider why?
Is it essential to eat local as often as you can? What are the benefits to you, your family and your community? No-one’s saying that you have to seek out only locally-produced food and goods, but it’s important to look for some and here’s why:
Many children nowadays have no idea how their food arrives on their plate. They have no idea that chicken comes from a, well, a chicken, or pork from a pig. Some children fail to recognise common fruit and vegetables and they don’t understand how bread is grown from wheat. Knowing the processes that turn a field of wheat into bread, cakes and flour can help someone to appreciate every mouthful, not just mindlessly chow it down. This leads to more informed choices and, ultimately, improved health.
If you’re concerned about eating healthily then you’ll probably be avoiding processed foods as much as possible already. Processed foods are usually manufactured for a long shelf-life, which means high levels of sugars and salt, as well as lots of unpronounceable preservatives. If you buy local foods, you’re more able to cook them from scratch and know what’s in them.
Local food means a smaller carbon footprint, especially if you go to a pick your own farm! Locally-grown food has, as you can no doubt imagine, far fewer miles to travel from ground to table and this can only be good for the environment.
It’s also good for the local economy and shoppers as smaller businesses can grow and thrive and be able to deliver a service fine-tuned to the needs of the community rather than following the prescribed agendas of national or multinational chains.
So, if you don’t know where your food comes from, now you know why you should!