There’s a lot of talk about eating local these days, but as with anything else, it’s not for everybody. Here’s a list of reasons why you might be one of those who’ll want to think twice about this. You should not eat local if;
1) You like your food well traveled.
Let’s face it. Food from far away must be more interesting, or else why would anybody buy it? Those strawberries from Chile have come 5,000 miles! Granted, they don’t have much taste but wow, they’re big! And all of those little lettuce leaves from California, flying 3,000 miles across the country--every single one of them. Do you think they might be sprayed with something to keep them looking perky all those days?
2) You want to support Big Ag
Industrialized farming has taken over our food supply and left us with a shortage of farmers. That means the food supply of our entire country and beyond is in the hands of a very few. So we should definitely support it because it’s just about all we’ve got! Everyone takes it for granted, without even thinking about the fact that a worker shortage or fuel crises or airline strike could throw the whole thing off any day. If something should happen to disrupt this giant system that controls how everything we eat is grown, harvested, processed, packaged, distributed and sold--where would we be? Then we might have to eat local--or starve.
3) The oil industry needs your support!
Eating local does not do enough to support the use of fossil fuels. For starters, the food doesn’t have to fly long distances on airplanes or be transported by giant trucks. And if it’s organic, it isn’t grown with all of those petroleum based chemical fertilizers. If you’re buying your food from your local farm or a farmer’s market, the produce doesn’t have to be encased in plastic wrap or boxes, which are mostly made of---you guessed it--fossil fuels. So when you support Big Ag, you also support Big Oil. Two for one!
4) Eating local costs more.
That’s right! It seems backwards, but food from far away is usually much cheaper than what you get from close by. Much of the food from the mainstream distribution system in our country is genetically modified to be grown and shipped in mass quantities while still remaining edible, or at least sort of looking like it might be, so it costs way less to produce than real food with more nutrition in it that’s grown by a local farmer. But lots of people in this country can’t afford that. They need to buy the cheap stuff which makes them fat and sick and miserable, which most people seem to assume is okay because it costs less. Others who possibly could afford it still often choose the industrial foods because our economy thrives on everyone thinking more/cheaper/better. Because a bargain is a bargain. Right?
5) You don’t really mind eating a lot of chemicals
Those chemicals are necessary to giant companies producing such enormous quantities of food. After all, they're trying to feed millions of people across thousands of miles. So they just keep using all of these different substances to grow and process the food (many of which are illegal in other countries) and to make it last a long time so it can be shipped long distances and sit for weeks on the grocery shelves until we buy it. It’s the only way to do it on such a large scale. Besides, the government says all of those things are safe, so if you're one of those people who doesn't care to eat local, then you’re okay with that!
6) You’d much rather see farmland used for recreation instead of growing food
You’ve heard it said that no one can make a living farming anymore. Old Macdonald is so old school. You might think that farmlands are better used as weekend entertainment. Don't we need more open space for athletic fields? Let’s not waste all of that land growing expensive food that no one is going to buy. You can get whatever you need at the grocery. City people need a place to get away from the rat race and kids need a place to run around. Right? And they should know where their food comes from.
Oh wait...where does their food come from?
Anyway, if you decide you’re NOT one of these folks and you DO want to eat real food that supports not only the farmers but your food quality and your food security, find the nearest the nearest CSA and sign up today!