Last month brought the opening of farmers’ markets and with it, more
opportunities to buy local, seasonal and sustainably produced food. As food
production is estimated to be responsible for 25% of the US ecological footprint
and the average supermarket product is said to have traveled about 1,500 miles
to reach our plates, as rates of obesity and overweight have been growing, and
as consumers become more dependent on mass-produced and processed foods,
proponents of eating locally argue eating food that is grown locally and
sustainable is more responsible, more healthful, and ultimately more delicious.
But is it affordable and accessible to most people?
Many have noted that the calls to eat locally come from a small and affluent
group of consumers, chefs and activists who have both the time and resources to
shop at farmers’ markets and cook healthy meals at home. Eating locally, they
argue, is a luxury out of reach for Americans juggling work, family and
increasing economic insecurity. A study by researchers at the University of
California-Davis reported that U.S. shoppers who consistently choose healthy and
sustainably produced foods spend nearly 20 percent more on groceries. Supporters
of eating locally argue that it can be an affordable option and some have even
considered the recent rise in food prices with optimism as local and organic
foods might not be seen as expensive in comparison. They note that the foods
produced by our industrial food systems have hidden costs to the environment, to
our health and to laborers that are not reflected in their smaller price tags.
Is it more responsible to try to eat more local and sustainably produced
foods and less of mass-produced, processed foods that travel thousands of miles
to our markets? If so, is it within reach of moderate to low-income families and
individuals? Eating locally may be right, but is it real?
Good News on Food Prices
Get Fresh With Me!
- I’m Hatin’
- Why Michael Pollan and
Alice Waters Should Quit Celebrating Food-Price Hikes
How Much Would You Pay?
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