Why Buy Local? Where Buy Local?

Where I come from, there isn't much that is local. Chain restaurants and shops cover ever corner. "Main Street" consists of Target, Bank of America, and Blockbuster. The closest thing to authentic Italian food IS the Olive Garden. So when I first began hearing about the importance of buying locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meat, it was a totally new concept to me. In case the same is true for you, let me give you a quick rundown of two of the reasons to buy locally. Then I will explain where you can buy locally.

Why Buy Locally

First, a lot of the things you buy in your chain grocery store are shipped hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles. This extraordinary waste of fuel also contributes to costlier groceries during fuel shortages. The items often come from other countries where environmental regulations are less strict and there can be no guarantee about the types of fertilizers or pesticides used on the crop. Compounding that point is the reality that environmental irresponsibility in other nations affects the U.S. environment, so buying groceries from other nations is essentially importing their poor resource protection policies.

Second, in addition to groceries from other nations, many of the food items that are actually grown in the U.S. are grown on very large farming factories. These huge food producers like to drape themselves in the image of the "American Farmer" when in reality they are more similar to manufacturing facilities. As a result of their mass production of food, we see the increasing growth of e-Coli and other contaminants in the items we buy for our families. The government's policies have tended to benefit these types of food growers, giving them the ability to sell food cheaper than local, true American Farmers.

Plus, going to the local famer's market is a lot more fun on the weekend then spending more time in that drab, busy grocery store.
Where To Buy Locally

Whether you live in New York City or Ambrose, GA, there is a Farmer's Market in your community that sells locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meats. Sometimes Flea Markets also include a Farmer's Market. In addition to selling great tasting, fresh food that has just been plucked from the vine, these Markets provide a place where you can talk directly to the Farmer about ripeness, differences in taste, or recipes. Prices in these markets are often close to the cost of your chain grocery store because the middleman has been cut out of the equation. Best of all, the food being sold in the market is the best of the season, grown right in your back yard.

Below are some great links for finding a Farmer's Market in your town. Make sure to bring some cloth sacks so you won't need plastic bags.

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