While we’re all at home, it’s time to rethink our consumer habits. So whether you’re trying to be more healthy with your food choices or you’re making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint, the benefits of eating local food over imported foods can’t be ignored. So if that’s the case, why should we eat local food? The main reason is the positive impact on the environment, local economy and even yourself. We’ll talk you through what these positives impacts look like, below.
Why Is It Better To Buy Local Food?
We hear a lot about the importance of purchasing and eating local produce. Here are the main factors that you can contribute towards when doing so:
- The local economy
- The environment
- Your own health and wellbeing
We’ll talk about each factor in a bit more detail below.
How Does Buying Local Food Help The Economy?
Eating locally sourced produce can help the economy in a number of ways, such as:
- Supporting local farmers. Compared to large agricultural businesses, it is significantly harder for local farmers to transport and distribute their goods. Just by eating local produce, you’ll be helping them to retain more profits off the back of their sales.
- Money stays within the community. Rather than heading to the big supermarket chains for your weekly shop, buying local food means that you’ll be directly supporting workers and businesses within the community.
- Creating more jobs. By supporting the local farmers, you’ll help them to expand their businesses and stock offering, and therefore create more jobs – reducing the level of unemployment in the area too.
- Supporting other local businesses. When the local food producers are doing well, it creates more opportunities for them to sell to other local businesses within the community. One example of this could be that restaurants profit from being able to advertise that they’re using locally sourced food.
How Does Buying Local Food Help The Environment?
Another one of the main benefits of eating local food is how it helps the environment. Discover how below:
- Reduction in food miles. Imported foods are often shipped hundreds or thousands of miles so that we can buy them from the supermarket. And the more miles travelled, the more fossil fuels that are used. So, by buying locally sourced food you can help to decrease carbon emissions produced by food miles and even air pollution.
- Increases awareness of the production process. Locally produced food helps to make people understand the process behind food production. This, in turn, prompts local farmers and food producers to practice sustainable farming i.e. reducing or ceasing use of pesticides and providing livestock with better living conditions.
- Creates more genetically diverse produce. Instead of only using one strand of genetics, local farmers have the opportunity to grow a variety of different kinds of crops in a range of colours. This helps to improve biodiversity and create more options for the community.
Why Should We Eat Local Food For Our Health?
Lastly, many health benefits come with eating local produce instead of processed, mass produced versions. Here’s why:
- It promotes a balanced diet. We all know how hard it is to resist the temptation to eat junk food. Thankfully, if you make a conscious effort to buy local, you’ll naturally be getting more veggies, protein and nutrition packed foods into your diet.
- You’ll consume less pesticides. It’s common for many small-scale farmers to become organic, meaning that they’ll opt for natural pest deterrents over chemical ones to preserve the life of their foods. Which therefore means that you’ll be consuming significantly less chemicals if you choose to buy local produce.
- There’s no need for preservatives. The main reason that food producers use preservatives is to prolong the health of the food during shipping. So, no food miles also means no preservatives. Win-win!
How To Buy Local Food
If you’re on board with eating local produce and are looking to make the swap yourself, we can help. For those wondering how to buy local food, try out some of these options:
- Sign up to emails and newsletters from your local community farms.
- Visit a ‘pick your own’ farm for fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Research any traditional markets in your area.
- Head to your local butchers, greengrocers, bakers and fishmongers.
- Pick up your groceries at a farm shop.
To quickly find out where to buy local produce near you, visit Big Barn and enter a postcode or place name to get results within seconds.
Now you know the benefits of eating local food, it’s time to try it for yourself. If you’re looking for ways to be kinder to our planet, check out our sustainable clothing guide for tips on how to be more eco-friendly in your clothing choices.