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Buying Local Produce Essay Sample

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Buying Local Produce Essay Sample

Have you ever wondered why the produce you find in a grocery store comes from all over the country When there are local farms that sell the same produce grown in your backyard? My family buys our produce from our local C.S.A.(Community Supported Agriculture), farmers markets, and produce stands. There are thousands of places like these across the country that get overlooked by consumers every day. An individual’s choices regarding food purchases can positively influence our world house by supporting our local farmers, reducing fossil fuel emissions and promoting better farming practices. Supporting our local farmers is important, not only to the community that they belong to but in a larger sense. The food produced by the local farms is healthier for consumers. The nutritional value of produce declines after the initial harvest. Therefore, local food has the most nutritional value because it is so fresh. Local produce is harvested and sold more quickly so they do not contain the preservatives that are added to products shipped long distances and placed in storage. Supporting local farmers ensures future food security. Today less than 1 percent of Americans claim farming as their primary occupation (Demographics).

Those who farm have very few benefits except that it is their passion. Small farmers are getting harder to find because it is so much work with little profit. Owning a farm is a business, to keep the business running you need to make a profit from your products. The average farmer only makes 10 cents on every retail food dollar (10 Reasons to Buy Local). With consumers buying directly from the farmers, they can cut out the middle man and farmers make a larger profit. This helps support the farms business and their families so they can continue to farm. Also we have to protect the land. Farmers who are not making any money are forced to sell their land giving them no control over what happens to it. The beautiful farm land becomes wasted, covered in housing developments, buildings, or strip malls. This is a reminder that the beauty of agricultural landscape survives only when farms are making profit. By spending your money on locally grown food, you are increasing the value of the land to the farmer and making development and urbanization more likely. Buying your produce from the source also gives the consumer insight into the actual processes that goes into the product.

When you see where it is coming from you develop more of an appreciation for it, which is important for the next generation of farmers. Supporting local farms today helps keep those farms in your community but the next generation of farmer’s need to see that there dream of farming and working the land can be profitable for them and make a difference in their community. When people appreciate their food and where it comes from they will be less inclined to waste it. Food waste it a huge issue, when people do not understand where it comes from and how hard it is to produce it deprecates the value of the food so throwing it away does not seem like a waste. Buying locally grown food can reduce the fossil fuel emissions in our world house in more than just one way. Transporting the produce across country is a huge waste of fossil fuels. “The average bundle of spinach, head lettuce, and carrots travel an average of 1,500 miles to reach the consumers table. “ (Why by locally grown food?)

This only increases our dependence on fossils fuels, since the consumers mainly rely on the produce, in our grocery stores, that was transported over hundreds of miles. Rich Pirog, senior associate director of the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems, found that conventional food distribution was responsible for 5 to 17 times more CO2 than locally produced food (Pirog). Not only are fossil fuels burned and wasted in the transporting of these products, but in the packaging of them too. These packaging’s are made and processed using fossil fuels. Local farms provide fresher products that don’t have to be packaged as tightly because they don’t need to be transported and stored after the harvest.. That is a part of food security, especially when we are relying on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute, and store food. Promoting sustainable farm practices is an important part in protecting our world house. A great part of buying locally grown food is you have the power to know exactly where it is coming from, who is producing it, and how it is produced. As a consumer you can make a choice of which farms and their practices you want to support.

These farming practices include use of fertilizers, pesticides, and soil management. Small farms also tend to adopt more environmentally friendly practices. All living plants need the essential nutrients to live such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. To increase production some farmers will put chemical fertilizers on their crops. These fertilizers are extremely water soluble and runoff very easily. When it rains the water can leach the soil of the nutrients. This causes the high levels of nutrients to run off into local watersheds causing a serious form of water pollution called algal blooms. These blooms can happen in streams and lakes affecting entire aquatic ecosystems. Smaller farms also tend to use fewer pesticides. Many farmers use pesticides to insure the quality and high yields of their crops. But the pesticides used have unintended consequences. The pesticides can runoff into lakes, rivers and streams, affecting the organisms that they were not intended for.

These pesticides are harmful to not only the pests that harm the crops but to the beneficial insects that are crucial for a sustainable ecosystem. Buying local produce is just one more step that most people can make to help the world house and the environment we all live in. We have only one world and we need to protect it anyway we can. As I mentioned before my family has participated in our local CSA. It is a great and easy opportunity to support your local farmers. When you sign up for the CSA you pay for the membership and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the season. Anyone who is interested can find a local CSA and more information about the organization at http://www.localharvest.org/csa/. Buying local produce can positively influence our world house by supporting our local farmers, reducing fossil fuel emissions and promote better farming practices. As consumers we can change the normal buying habits to help the world house.

References:

“Why Buy Locally Grown?” Do Something. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. . “10 Reasons to Buy Local.” Healthy Carolina. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. . “Demographics.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.< http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/demographics.html>

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