Not very many people think about where their produce comes from when they’re out grocery shopping. However, some people have a very strong opinion about where they think it should come from, whileothers could care less. Personally, I think that if more people knew the facts about where their food comes from, they would be forced to have an opinion and take a stand. There are so many benefits to supporting your local farmers and ranchers by consuming locally grown products. It’s not only good for our local economy, it’s a healthy step forward to really know where your food is coming from.
I spoke to Andrea Chavez, a representative for Talley Farms in Arroyo Grande about what their business is all about. Talley Farms grows avocados, lemons, wine grapes, and other vegetables. They aren’t just a small business, they are a medium sized growing and shipping company. They ship their goods all over the country. But they also have a program called Talley Farms Fresh Harvest, this program is just for customers on the central coast. This is even more special for the locals because in the local boxes, you get a much larger variety of vegetables. In a sense, they kind of get the best of both worlds being that they don’t just cater to the central coast, but also to people all over the country.
Jennifer Maiser, a supporter of the locavore movement, said,
A dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.
When you aren’t buying local, that money is leaving your community. When you shop local, it’s not just about the big picture of helping out your local economy, you are giving local farmers a reason to stay in production. Though some may argue that it does help us out here at home, but if we don’t buy imported products, than we are hurting other farmers around the world. While I can see their point, I can’t overlook the fact that small farmers will be able to receive 75% of their organic certification costs reimbursed. You have to take into account what that could do for us here at home at an economical standpoint. It’s time to take care of ourselves, we don’t need to worry about other countries. If they were to also practice the locavore way, there wouldn’t be much conflict about the issue. It has the same benefits no matter where you are.
Stepping away from the economic side of things, food is fresher when it comes from a local farm. Think about the journey that your produce has to take when it comes from somewhere such as Kenya, versus right around the corner. Not only does it have to go through a greater transportation process, it uses more energy in initial transportation the further away it comes from. That’s not great for the environment. Anyone who has tasted fresh picked fruits or veggies, knows that it has a taste that just doesn’t compare to most store bought alternatives. Also, the freshness factor doesn’t just affect the taste of your food, but the nutritional value actually decreases with time. When I asked Andrea what kind of message she wanted to get across to consumers, she said “Produce tastes better because it’s fresher and you’re supporting your community financially when you support small businesses.” I couldn’t have put it simpler myself! Those are truly the most significant arguments as to why local produce is so great.
Now, I’m not saying that we should only consume local goods. Imported goods aren’t bad, and both systems have flaws. For instance; One problem with only consuming local goods is you have to stay in season. An example would be grapes in the winter time, the only place you can find them that time of year is the Southern Hemisphere, therefore you have no choice but to purchase imported grapes. Bottom line is, I am saying that you don’t have to be a farmer to advocate for local agriculture. Support your local economy and local farms and ranches. Providing healthy food for your family is how these people make a living to be able to feed theirs. Bottom line is; When you shop local, you’re helping out your neighbors. Why wouldn’t we want to contribute to that?
For more information about Talley Farms, check out these links!