Local food is food which is locally produced within a short space of where it’s eaten, usually supported by a strong social infrastructure and different from the big-scale industrial grocery system. Its production is often motivated by community concerns about land and farming, and has recently come to the forefront in debates concerning climate change and global warming. This kind of production can be very locally sustainable and consequently better for the environment and human health than food produced in massive industrial farms, giving people and communities more control over their own resources. It’s also very localised, producing food that we’ve grown up with and that we have a real relationship with. Local food is often made from locally available and renewable resources.
For instance, local food such as fruit and vegetables, traditionally grown and farmed within fifty years or so of where they are consumed, is a very different concept to the one we have today. In today’s world, many people eat foods which are imported, and are grown and transported hundreds or thousands of miles away from where they are consumed. Even meat is transported long distances in order to be consumed within the shortest time possible, a process which makes large volumes of meat and other animal products very expensive. The whole process of transporting meat and other animal products long distances in order to be consumed close to home is an enormous environmental footprint that needs to be taken on our behalf. We need to think carefully about the kind of food we’re growing and how it’s being produced, and what kind of communities and individual families are supporting this production.
Within a few years, many farmers who were relied upon to supply local food markets with food for many families and individuals have gone on to have their farms closed down completely, having been unable to compete with the massive amounts of produce manufactured on a large scale farm. Some farmers have moved away entirely, finding new places which grow crops they can export, and many farmers have lost their local farms selling locally grown food altogether, moving out altogether to large, corporate farms which buy large quantities of these crops and then send them on to other parts of the world, where they are consumed with great delight. Many local farmers are struggling to maintain their farms, and some are even turning to organic farming and food, believing that they will be able to sell more locally grown produce and survive.