Buying Local

Eat better and support your local farmers

Photo by Edward Fielding - www.edwardfielding.com
Photo by Edward Fielding - www.edwardfielding.com | Source
Photo by Edward Fielding - www.edwardfielding.com
Photo by Edward Fielding - www.edwardfielding.com | Source
Photo by Edward Fielding - www.edwardfielding.com
Photo by Edward Fielding - www.edwardfielding.com | Source

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Trying to be good, buying local

Our family has recently renewed our attempts to improve the quality of food we intake and this includes trying to buy more local food.

After watching the documentary "Food, Inc" and learning about modern farming methods (for example the fact that there are only 13 meat processing plants in the entire country now, chickens are breed to be so fat they can't stand up, cows and most livestock and most products on the store shelves are based on government subsidized corn) and my son's First Lego League season based on the topic of Food Safety, we feel we can do more to vote with our dollars and buy local.

We are lucky enough to live in a rural area with lots of family farms around so its not too difficult to buy more local produce and meat. It really is just more about taking the effort to do so. Not only will we be supporting our neighbors and the traditional farming methods, but we'll be reducing the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere and doing more to stop climate change. Hurricane Irene and the flooding it brought destroyed many farms, homes, business and infrastructure in our area is just one more reminder of the dangers of climate change.

In summary buying local is the best way for your dollars to make an impact on your local and global environment. It supports your local hardworking farming families and cuts down on truck emissions and refrigeration energy.

Progress

This week I've visited a local poultry farm and bought fresh eggs, bought hamburger from a local farmer, purchase local milk and cheese, local beer, picked fresh apples, purchased fresh squeezed apple cider and made tomato sauce from my own tomatoes.

Beer

For the all important brewski beverage, we have some excellent choices for buying local. We have a Harpoon Brewery in the area as well as the Long Trail brewery. Its an easy choice to purchase bottled beer from a few towns over instead of buying beer shipped from Europe that has been sitting on a boat for months or even buying a beer trucked from St. Louis.

Ease of Buying Local Score - Easy

Eggs

We have plenty of sources for fresh eggs in our area. We can purchase eggs from the end of peoples driveways or a the local farms. Fresh eggs cost about $1 to $2 more per dozen but taste so much better than the ones in the supermarket that have been sitting around for days or weeks. You can see the difference in your scrambled eggs. The fresh eggs are much brighter yellow then the supermarket eggs. Plus if you've ever seen a commercial egg operation you know the conditions of the chickens is horrific. The local backyard chicken or local family farm chicken has a much better life and is eating better than those commercial chickens.

Ease of Buying Local Score - Easy

Meat

Meat is one of the toughest things because we've become so used to cheap meat that is artificially kept low due to our governments subsidizing of corn. Basically all of the chicken, beef, pork and even fish produced by huge feed lots is a corn based product. This is not necessarily an improvement for us humans except for low prices because it leads to more pathogens in our food supply. Cows standing in their own feces at the massive centralized feed lot is a breeding ground for e-coli. Grass fed cows can eliminate all traces of e-coli withing seven days but giving cows a pasture to graze in is not as cost effective as the factory style feed lot so that's what you get these days in the supper market. You get hamburger that has the meat from 13 different cows all mix together.

The tough part of going organic or even local on meat of course is the cost. At my local poultry farm a whole chicken in the freezer was $16.50. At the supermarket I can pick up a roasted chicken for about half the prices. But then again, my dollars purchasing a chicken from my local farmer goes directly into that family's pocket. It supports the picturesque farm that I drive by, it keeps the land out of the hands of a developer and I get a fresh chicken that wasn't keep in the dark all of its life and breed to be so fat it can't stand up.

Still its a tough decision when the cost seem so great. I think on meat the goal is going to be to simply eat less which is healthier anyway and to gradually add more and more local and organic to the shopping cart. The stores sell what people buy so the more people buy or demand organic, the more organic will be offered and the prices will come down.

Ease of Buying Local Score - Tough (on the wallet)

Milk and Cheese

Buying milk and cheese locally is easy. I just look on the cartons for the source and buy the locally produced product. Our area has a lot of dairy farms so its easy to find locally make cheese and milk.

Ease of Buying Local Score - Easy

Produce

Buying locally produced produced in our area in the summer is easy. We have lots of farmers markets and a Coop supermarket that carries products from local farm. Even several of the restaurants feature local produce (and even meat) on their menus. We also have a great apple orchard or two where picking your own fruit is a fun family activity.

In the winter its not so easy but one can make choices - for example picking apples from the US instead of from the other side of the world. At least you can try to keep the income in the country instead of importing your dollars outside of the country.

Other grocery items require reading the fine print. For example in you pick up a bottle of apple juice it might say something like "may contain juice from one of the following countries....." Food today is produced like humans are robots. Best to keep things simple. If a food product has a laundry list of chemicals, colorings and ingredients make in a laboratory, its probably best to avoid it.


Ease of Buying Local Score - Easy/Difficult

In conclusion I'd suggest trying to buy more locally to everyone. You'll learn a lot about where your food comes from, meet some of your neighbor, be healthier and help save the planet.

Buying local keeps your dollars local

Locally produced food is better for the planet

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Pinkchic18 profile image

Pinkchic18 5 years ago from Minnesota

Wonderful hub with some great tips here. I try to buy local as often as I can to try and A) stay fresh and B) help out local entrepreneurs.

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