Monday, February 4, 2008

think local!

Lately I've been buying organic foods whenever possible. However, when it comes to produce and other products, it's important to also take into account the time and distance these items have traveled to reach their final destinations.

For the most part, U.S. produce is picked up to a week before reaching the supermarket. Let's also remember that it may travel thousands of miles before it reaches that supermarket, a consumer purchases it, and then is driven to the consumer's home. Think of the additional miles products travel when they originate from other countries! It really does impact our use of the earth's natural resources. Given this scenario, there are many reasons to buy local produce and goods:

• Local produce is much fresher and full of flavor. A tomato grown at home or purchased from a local farmer tastes so much better than the bland, mass-produced variety sold at most grocery stores.
• Pollution and gas usage are decreased by buying local products. Decrease your carbon footprint!
• Since it doesn't need to travel very far, local produce is typically preservative-free.
• Buying local supports your neighborhood farmers and helps support the local community.
These are just a few reasons to buy local. I can hardly wait for springtime when I can walk through the farmers' markets and purchase homegrown goodies!

By the way, the photo above was taken yesterday. I had a little snack of locally baked whole wheat bread with sour cherry preserves made by American Spoon (Petoskey, MI...I know this is a bit of a distance, but I still consider it to be local compared to most products which travel a much farther distance).

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