By Jessica Goldblatt Barber
Local food systems are an alternative to the global corporate models where producers and consumers are separated through a chain of processors, manufactures, shippers and retailers. As the food industry grows, the ‘middle man’ is increasingly able to control the quality of food. Conversely, the local food system redevelops these relationships and encourages a return of quality control to the consumer and the producer (Wikipedia/Local Food).
Support Our Economy and Create Jobs
Agriculture is a vital part of Northeast economy, employing thousands of people in a variety of careers on and off the farm. Selling directly to consumers from farm stands, markets and food stores, farmers earn a greater share of the dollars. Money spent with local farmers, growers, artisans, purveyors and restaurants stays close to home, ands build our local economy instead of being handed over to a corporation in another city, state, or country.
Preserve Our Green Space, Farmland and Heritage
Farmers are stewards of the land who protect and nurture millions of acres in the Northeast. Fields, pastures and waterways contribute quietly and gently to our way of life by providing scenic vistas, open space and wildlife habitat. Agriculture is a part of our New England heritage. A visit to a local farm reacquaints people (especially children) with their food supply and “where food comes from” and spotlights our rich agricultural heritage and the history of our community.
Local Foods Usually Have Less Environmental Impact
Those thousands of miles some food is shipped? That leads to a very big carbon footprint!
Local Foods Promote Food Security
Stronger regional food systems create greater food security and sustainability, especially in times of unforeseeable disasters, upheavals or conflicts.
Local Foods Create Community
Knowing where your food is from connects you to the people who raise and grow it. Instead of having a single relationship—to a big supermarket—you develop smaller connections to more food sources: vendors at the farmers market, the local cheese shop, your favorite butcher. There’s a greater, more intimate connect, along with an implicit trust, in doing business and buying what nourishes you from your neighbor.
Food is one of life’s most basic necessities. Local agriculture assures a food system that is safe, affordable and accessible to all providing a wide variety of fresh, high quality food and agricultural products sold at their peak of flavor and nutritional value.
Jessica Goldblatt Barber is the owner of Interiors Green, in Bethlehem, NH.