It’s Earth Day and I like to take the time to think about what I could improve upon in terms of living a more sustainable lifestyle. One of the things we’ve been trying to do as a family is to buy more local food. Local food benefits the Earth in more than one way:
- Food that does not have travel far is less polluting — no big trucks needed for long transport.
- Often, local (but not always) food is grown without harmful chemicals/pesticides.
- Many small, local farms and operations pride themselves in sustainable practices that are better for the environment.
- Smaller farms means less polluting machinery is needed.
We are trying to buy local food in the following ways:
During the winter, we buy our produce at the local grocery, which often gets its fruit and vegetables from sources that are closer to home. We also try to buy things that are in season. Once the local farmer’s market starts up, we like to attend in order to buy produce. And, of course, we like to garden. That’s the ultimate in money-saving local produce: Just go out to your backyard and get what you need. We have an herb garden as well, and we dry some of the herbs for winter use.
Bread and other baked goods
The bakery at the local grocery sells bread for $1.50 less than the loaves shipped in from elsewhere. The bread is made fresh, and it is made on site. We get rolls, bagels and other products at local bakeries. There is also an artisan bakery in town. The bread costs a little more, but it sure is tasty! I would like to take it a step further and learn to make my own bread.
Meat and dairy
We eat red meat about once a week. Same for poultry. There is a local farm that raises cattle that graze on grass. No hormones, etc. We buy our meat from there usually. Likewise, our eggs and dairy are from local sources. We have a great local dairy that produces hormone-free milk products. Meat and dairy products produced in this way often cost a little bit more than what you get in the store. But the quality — and the fact that we don’t eat these foods often — makes it worth it.
If your town allows it, you can keep your own poultry. We know people who have their own chickens and even raise their own turkey for Thanksgiving. Owning poultry is not for us, but it is a cost-effective way to get your food locally. Same with going fishing (which is something I do).
Do you try to buy local food?
image source: eskay8 via Flickr