By Cassidy Johnson
Choosing to eat locally, as opposed to non-local food sources, is better for your health, the environment, the local economy and it creates a sense of community. With this in mind, it is vital to educate the world of the importance on eating locally to secure more livable cities all over.
When you buy foods that are locally grown, you are helping maintain farmland and green space in your area. When foods are shipped, they are leaving a huge carbon footprint, but local farmers use practices and energy that only allow for the food to have minimal environmental impact. On average, the fresh food that we bring into our homes travel 1,500 miles to get there. Buying locally eliminates the need to transport foods and use fuel guzzling transportation. This is just another way that we can all work together to help fight against climate change and help save the environment.
Tom Hagen, the small business owner of Toasty's sandwich shop in Duluth, Minn. said, "For an environment or community to stay strong, the quality of life needs to be high and that is effected by small business tremendously."
The money you spent at local farms, growers, artisans, locally-owned purveyors, and restaurants all stay close within your community. Buying locally will help to strengthen your local economy instead of being handed over to a corporation in another city, state or country. Since the food moves through fewer hands, more of the money you spend tends to get to the people growing it. After money spent on transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and marketing, farmers only receive 20 cents of each dollar spent. For farmers who sell to local customers, they receive full retail value.
Shopping locally also creates a connection to the people who grow and raise the food because you now where it is coming from. You are building a connection with people of the community and creating more food sources instead of building a connection with a supermarket. The benefit is social and psychological, but ultimately, you are getting the benefit of fresh locally grown food. Small businesses better accommodate the needs of the community because they are more aware of the demand for certain items.
"They formulate and change markets, forcing us into less and less choices over time. Small business change with the market and environment and emerge from within the environment based on the local demand," said Hagen.
In order to make Duluth a more livable city, we must recognize how vital it is to place importance on shopping locally and supporting local food sources. So, next time you are going out to get fresh foods and goods, make sure to consider the best option for your community and environment by choosing to shop local.