Buy Fresh, Buy Local

by Nick Livermore

By now, most of us have seen the Buy Fresh Buy Local logo prominently displayed in fine food stores across the country. But besides the obvious locavorian message and numerous studies, what exactly does this sign embody? Many consumers don’t know or don’t think often that most products in American grocery stores were picked a week ago and has traveled 1500+ miles.

So what does Buy Fresh Buy Local entail? We set out to find the answer and more, as we reveal just what exactly your local Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter endorses. According to the BFBL Virginia Chapter site, we should all make an effort to buy local because;

–       You Will Get Exceptional Taste and Freshness – Local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances from other states or countries. Local farmers can often produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life.

–       You’ll Strengthen Your Local Economy – Buying local food keeps your dollars circulating in your community. Getting to know the farmers who grow your food builds relationships based on understanding and trust, the foundation of strong communities.

–       You’ll Support Endangered Family Farms – There’s never been a more critical time to support your farming neighbors. With each local food purchase, you ensure that more of your money spent on food goes to the farmer.

–       You Will Safeguard Your Family’s Health – Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables you to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified seed in their operations.

–       You’ll Protect the Environment – Local food doesn’t have to travel far. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials. Buying local food also helps to make farming more profitable and selling farmland for development less attractive.

–       Buying Local is This Easy – Find a farmer, farmers’ market, farm stand, restaurant, retailer, or other local food outlet near you.

–       Go to farmers marketsOn first thought it might seem difficult trying to buy local ingredients, but with a few small shopping tweaks, it is quite easily achievable. To maximize the number of local products you consume, follow these easy tips:

–       Look for the local produce section at the grocery store

–       Shop at mom and pop-type stores when possible – they are more likely to have local offerings

–       Form a direct relationship with local farms – this also ensures the freshest of the fresh!

–       Use sites/apps such as Yelp and Etsy – they have options to filter local businesses

–       Grow your own, and share with your friends!

But be warned -– tomatoes don’t grow in Michigan in January and local maple syrup may be hard to come by in sunny Florida. So there is a certain element of planning which goes into being a devoted locavore. Stock up on maple syrup while up north and preserve tomatoes in the fall. These are just two examples of foods we eat that are either seasonal and/or regional. There are great resources online that can help identify and find what’s in season locally in your area.

What you can do to get involved:

–       Buy local products whenever possible

–       Always buy fresh ingredients

–       Buy organic goods

–       Support your local farmer’s market

–       Find your local BFBL chapter and get involved!

Any other ways you buy fresh, local ingredients? Let us know in the comments below!

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