Eating Local Food – Healthy Eating For Wealth
Local food is food which is produced closer to its source, often connected to a social structure and distribution system distinct from that of the large-scale retail food system. For example, rural and small-time farmers are generally involved in marketing and distribution for local food retailers, as well as processing and packing for local producers. Examples include fresh fruit and vegetables bought from farm gates, delivered in baskets, picked and packaged at the residence of the consumer rather than in large trucks, and delivered to their doorstep in the form of freshly cut fruits and vegetables or whole chickens. However local food production and marketing may extend further, such as at community gardens, schools, fairs, sports events, and etc. Examples of successful and popular local food outlets are fast food chains like McDonald’s (which started in rural Texas 30 years ago), YMCA’s and others.
Community supported agriculture, also known as CSA, is a system whereby local producers market their products to a network of retailers and consumers at the expense of a portion or a large share of the sales price. The retailers or producers are cooperatives, often made up of groups of like-minded individuals who pool their purchasing power to purchase large volumes of a given commodity at a time and pass the savings on to the individual consumer. CSA farmers markets are generally found in areas with a high percentage of low-income families and people of color, and are an example of sustainable local food production. Through CSA arrangements farmers can market their produce and services to a largely African American and Latino customer base, while still keeping a portion of the sales for themselves. In the process community members learn about local produce and how it is prepared, as well as the history and culture of the local food production process.
In summary, eating local food means using local produce and food grown locally to prepare at home. It supports the local economy and contributes to good health. While many of us have experienced some of the environmental and economic challenges of the last decades, it is now possible to eat healthy locally and save money at the same time. Learning how to grow your own food at home for profit is becoming easier.