Our food is flown, hauled and trucked across oceans, continents and countries to reach our grocery stores. Food travels on average 1,500 miles from the farm where it was grown to your home, which burns an incredible amount of fossil fuels in the process. In contrast, local food traveling under 100 miles to reach your table produces significantly smaller quantities of CO2.
Local food is grown for taste and freshness - not to withstand long travel times and distances. This means food is picked when it is ripest and sold to you within a day or two. And, unlike highly processed fast foods that contribute to heart disease, diabetes and other diet-related ailments, local food encompasses healthy fruits, vegetables and other less-processed foods.
Supporting a local food system means supporting your region. You can develop relationships with your local farmers and producers and learn about their growing methods. Buying local not only helps family farmers stay in business, it also significantly strengthens our local economy by keeping food dollars circulating in our region. In fact, only 1-5% of the estimated $9.2 billion Northeast Ohioans spend on food purchases and consumption support local farmers or food businesses. Just imagine what a 10% shift to local food purchasing could mean for our community and economy!
One of the great things about local food is that it is easy to start supporting our local food system. Whether you start by trying one new vegetable this year or eating as locally as possible throughout the year, your effort will contribute toward building your health and the health of Northeast Ohio's regional environment and economy.