Thanks to a recommendation by Stacy Atkinson of Lone Palmetto Farms, I have been asked to become a periodic contributing writer for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association‘s blog, The Sweete Potato. It is an honor that I will happily accept and in doing so do my best to represent the Pee Dee’s food, foodies, and food culture to its constituencies. The Sweet Potato is a primary communication and education vehicle for the CFSA’s work to advocate, educate, and build sustainable food systems. In the future I plan to share more about the CFSA here on PeeDeeFoodie.com, including its history, its current regional advocacy priorities, and its planned Local Food Finder. My personal appreciation goes to Stacy for referring me for this opportunity, as well as to Jared Cates and Victoria Bouloubasis of the CFSA for their welcome.
In the interim between now and my first written contribution to that site, I thought I would share the following from the main CFSA website. It’s a powerful list of seven reasons to BUY LOCAL FOOD.
Buy Fresher, More Nutritious Foods
Locally grown fruits and vegetables are usually harvested within 24 hours of being purchased by the consumer. Produce picked at the height of freshness tastes better. Because locally grown produce is freshest, it is more nutritionally complete. Nutritional value declines, often dramatically, as time passes after harvest.
Reduce Energy Consumption
Locally produced foods do not require significant transportation or storage, both of which are very energy-intensive and pollute our air and water.
Increase Regional Economic Health
Buying locally grown foods keeps money within the community. This contributes to the health of all sectors of the local economy, increasing the local quality of life.
Encourage a Self-Sufficient Community
A community that produces its own food enables people to influence how their food is grown. In addition, it reduces reliance on far-off food producers, thus stabilizing its own food supply.
Help Preserve Biodiversity
Farmers selling locally are not limited to the few varieties that are bred for long distance shipping, high yields, and shelf life. Often they raise and sell wonderful heirloom varieties that may be hard to find in supermarkets.
Preserve the Rural Character of the Land
Supporting local farmers means maintaining local farmland. Local consumers can serve as the lifeline for local farmers because they create direct marketing opportunities where sellers can receive fair prices for their crops.
Avoid Post-harvest Contamination
Foods sold in local markets without the need for extensive storage and transportation will likely contain minimal or no waxes and/or fungicides applied to protect the product after harvest.
In short, whether your locality is Hartsville, Conway, Sumter, Dillon, or Florence, we should buy local food whenever we can. No, I cannot say that I have always done this. I have often bought what’s cheaper or more convenient. I cannot say that I will always do this, because the option to do so may not always be present. But what I can say to you is that I will try my best. I ask you to consider doing the same.
CALL TO ACTION
If after you read this list from the CFSA, you decided to make the same commitment that I have, please share this list with your family and friends. Use the social media buttons below to post it to Facebook, tweet it to the world, and share it via your favorite network.
Change happens when we make a decision. With regard to buying local food first, now is the time for that decision.
About the AuthorKevin Barron is a husband, father, self-described geek, and enthusiastic founder of PeeDeeFoodie.com. He also hosts its companion podcast, the Pee Dee Food Show, which can be found on iTunes and the blog. Learn more about Kevin under the Contributors tab above.
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