Local food is the food which is produced close to where it is consumed, frequently supported by a community and more social structure different from the large scale grocery system. This kind of food is much closer to the source of the ingredients, and is generally prepared at home or in small restaurants catering for local consumers. It is also generally less expensive than the mass produced foodstuffs available in supermarkets. With a strong local economy, many rural areas in the United States are able to feed themselves and continue to flourish.
So what constitutes local food? Well, according to various dictionaries and guides, a local food is any food prepared at home or in a neighborhood, town or city that is prepared and eaten on the same premises as the people who cook it. This definition excludes foodstuff sold in stores, such as meat and dairy products; it also excludes fruit juices, bakery items, confectionary, and other goods prepared commercially. The only exception to this principle is made when foodstuffs sold in groceries are called ‘local’ in order to distinguish them from prepackaged or packaged foods. When this happens, then the food is classed as regional, and needs to be bought according to its region.
There are various reasons as to why people choose to eat locally, as opposed to eating foodstuffs from a distance. Some people believe that eating locally means living closer to nature, and receiving food which is grown, cooked and eaten according to its nutritional requirements; others believe that local food encourages family bonding and helps promote a sense of community within an area. Some more affluent consumers prefer to eat locally because it means that they can take some of their meals home with them, and then eat some elsewhere on their travels. However, the most important reason as to why people choose to consume locally produced food, and why local food is becoming increasingly popular, is simply that local food tastes better! And tastes better than the food which is grown thousands of miles away!