Why Shop Local Foods?

— Written By Kaitlyn Lamaster
en Español / em Português

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Supporting local agriculture is an easy way to invest in your community while receiving healthy, delicious products at the same time. A few reasons to support local are listed below:

  1. The economic importance: When food is purchased locally, those dollars are more likely to stay and circulate within the county and state. Instead of sales being made half-way across the country, the taxes, wages, and feelings of philanthropy stay right here. There is even a chance to SAVE money on food when buying local foods in bulk.
  1. Environmental impacts: Local foods have less of a negative environmental impact than foods that are shipped. Because the food is grown and raised nearby, farmers only need to ship their food within the county or state. This saves more fuel than when something is being shipped from hundreds – or even thousands – of miles away via trains, planes, and automobiles. This saving of fuel also contributes to competitive pricing from the local food suppliers. Many of our producers utilize sustainable practices, such as pasture rotation, rain water harvesting systems, and improvement of soil health.
  1. Health benefits: Local foods have more of “the good stuff” such as carotenoids, phenolic compounds, anthocyanins, and more : All perishable, non-processed food has a definitive shelf life. The health benefits of eating local foods shines with local fruits and vegetables. As soon as a fruit or vegetable is picked, “the good stuff” within the fruit starts to break down, resulting in less nutrient value for the person lucky enough to eat it. When food goes unconsumed, say on a shipping truck, it can lose up to 55% of its nutritional value in only 7 days. This does not account for the time it takes to get from the grocery store to your fridge and from your fridge to your plate!
  1. Increased quality: When meat and produce are allowed to reach full maturity, they are able to accumulate more of “the good stuff”. Things like marbling and phenolic compounds come with time – when meats and produce are harvested too soon, they are unable to accumulate enough of those compounds that contribute to flavor. When they are harvested too late, some of those compounds might start to break down, resulting in a “blander” tasting product.
  1. Getting to know your farmer: This is great for many reasons. Number one is being able to form that personal connection between you, the farmer, and your food. Number two is being able to work with your farmer to get specifically what you need, such as more of one cut of meat and less of another. Many people also appreciate knowing that their meat was raised and processed in a humane way.

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Infographic below highlights Montgomery County agriculture and its contributions:

Local Farms and Food Profile Infographic

For more information:

Nutrient content breakdown