As most of you know, Peef and I are pretty devoted to the idea of eating locally and supporting the philosophies of slow food. We haven't gotten to the point where I feel that we really do enough; but, we've made progress. We belong to a CSA, we make weekly trips to the farmer's market, we belong to a local co-op. Despite our lack of acreage, we even cultivate a small yard of vegetables and herbs during Wisconsin's short summers. Sometimes we pay just a little bit more for food that we know is ultra-fresh and flavorful. We also spend time nurturing our families and friends with food that we prepared with them in mind.
But, despite those things, it occurred to me that we probably haven't taken the time to really lay out the details of why we do what we do. So, I took the time this week to get down to business. And here are some of the reasons why we've chosen to support local agriculture. Some of the answers are familiar (trite, even). Others maybe not quite so much. You can decide for yourself.
- Local food just tastes better. No lies... that warm sun-kissed tomato I just picked from the backyard will ALWAYS win when compared to the pale, under-ripe variety I can find at the grocery store.
- Nutrition. Pure and simple. Some would argue that the jury is still out on whether organic is more nutritious than conventional produce. But, I have a hard time believing that food produced on factory farms and transported sometimes thousands of miles before it gets to market can beat out locally-grown produce. Well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become truly nourishing food. So, I'm going to put my money where my mouth is.
- Doing what feels right keeps us healthier. Totally getting a kick out of eating luscious, local strawberries (or apples, or soybeans, or chard) means that, in the end, we eat more fruits and vegetables. How can that be a bad thing?
- Buying local supports the local economy. I mean -- why not? We live here.
- Buying local conserves fuel. Australian apples? I don't care HOW organic they are! Give me freshness from my own backyard as often as possible.
- It's fun to buy from someone you know. Don't you have more fun when you buy your veggies at the farmer's market? For me, nothing beats meeting the farmer that grew my veg. And talking with him about how much he enjoys his work.
- So really -- the final reason really is that buying local FEELS good. And right.