What is local food? Local food refers to food that is grown within close proximity to its source-natural or other non-organic farming methods, co-ops or community farms are most commonly thought of as local food. The term “local” is subject to variation, depending on the region and culture of the food, but in most cases this definition includes small-scale local food production such as the food purchased at farmer markets or small shops.
Organic food also refers to food that meets the requirements of the National Organic Program and the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. Organic means that the crop has been created in such a way that the growth, and the yield are not affected or destroyed by the use of pesticides, herbicides, or various other chemicals, synthetic or natural. This is opposed to non-organic foods, which do not meet these requirements. The USDA Organic logo is used to represent organic foods.
The process of organic farming methods has been slow and arduous, and it takes many years for a crop to reach maturity and begin to produce. Organic food has become increasingly popular over the past ten years because it offers far better health benefits for consumers. Because organic farming methods are labor intensive and expensive, organic foods generally cost more than their non-organic alternatives. The lack of synthetic chemicals and the use of healthy, natural ingredients help to produce higher quality foods at a lower cost.
Many local food movements are grass-roots initiatives. They occur throughout the country and spread through various community groups and organizations. Some grass-roots initiatives focus on organic farming methods, while others focus on various campaigns to promote organic farming or encourage consumers to buy organic foods. Grass-roots efforts are not supported by any national organizations and often lack funding, but they tend to be the most successful efforts to increase local food consumption.
Some groups have been successful at making organic food items more accessible to consumers. One such group is the Great Plains Association. The group organizes fairs and local food markets where local residents can purchase organic food at bargain prices. The market is considered a farmers’ market and vendors are compensated for every product they sell. This enterprise is similar to a farmers’ market except that there is no requirement for shoppers to purchase food themselves. Buyers can simply choose to buy produce they prefer from the list of available products and make their selections at the fair.
Other groups offer food at local farmer’s markets and provide information and advice about organic farming methods. The Northeast Organic Farming Association is one example. They sponsor a” Farmer’s Market on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.” This market provides shoppers with information about organic farming, as well as tips about how to prepare foods that are pesticide free.
There are many benefits to increased local food consumption. A larger percentage of the food supply is organic, which is better for the environment. People who are concerned about their health, as well as those who are concerned about minimizing their family’s risk of common illness, are embracing organic eating practices. These people include children, as well as adults, and teenagers who are beginning to become concerned about their diets.
What is local food? It is here and it is growing. The question of what is local food consumption should not be just a question of taste, but of equity in our communities. We all have a responsibility to help maintain our ecosystems by purchasing fruits and vegetables that are grown locally, without harmful chemicals, pesticides, or preservatives.