It’s Better For You
The perks of local agriculture start with the benefits for you. Ever heard of food miles? That’s the distance your food travels from the farm to your plate. Conventionally grown food travels between 1500 and 3000 miles to reach your dinner table. All that traveling takes time, which means earlier harvest times (to prevent rot), more preservatives and more refrigeration, all of which make for lower quality produce. As time passes during transport, sugars turn to starch, plant cells shrink, and food ages. Produce grown by a family-owned or at local farms typically travels less than 100 miles to reach the customer. A shorter travel time means produce can be harvested and sold at its peak, meaning fresher, tastier, more nutritious food for you and your family.
It’s Better For the Economy
When you spend money on conventionally produced food, the profit on that food leaves the local economy and benefits the owners and shareholders of an agribusiness based thousands of miles away. Buying products grown far from home causes money to hemorrhage from local economies. Furthermore, farmers of conventionally grown produce receive only 10% of the retail price of their produce. Much of the income generated by conventionally grown produce goes toward shipping and countless other middlemen who handle that food before you purchase it. Cutting out the middleman means greater profitability for farmers.
Obviously, bigger profits are great news if you are a farmer. But healthier farms are also good for the entire community. Presently, less than 1% of Americans cite farming as their primary occupation, which is not surprising considering that 10% of the retail price number we mentioned. This is tragic, as farms are great for local economies. Most economic development efforts drive up taxes, as they require more in services than they pay back. In the case of farms, the opposite is true. Tomatoes don’t need ambulances, pigs don’t attend school and corn doesn’t drive on public roads. Farms actually pay more in taxes than they require in services. Supporting local farms helps grow local businesses and economies without pushing up taxes.
Want lower taxes? Support local agriculture!
It’s Better For the World
Remember those food miles we mentioned earlier? They have the environmental impact. Shipping and refrigeration require fuel and produce emissions, which are harmful to the environment. Large-scale industrial farms are also negatively impactful, as they consume large amounts of land, water, pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, fossil fuels and other inputs that result in a big environmental footprint. Small scale producers reduce fossil fuel consumption by shortening the distance food is shipped, and while they don’t necessarily follow sustainable agriculture practices, many do. Small farms often put forth a greater effort to preserve the environment where they operate.
Small farms have other benefits as well. Factory farms select the varieties of crops they grow based on resilience and ability to ripen at the same time. Only a few varieties of each kind of crop meet these standards, few varieties are grown. Small farms, which distribute crops locally, do not require produce to be as rough and tumble and can grow a larger variety. This increases the genetic diversity of our food supply and region. Since many of these varieties are older, the contain many more genes which can provide solutions to problems with pests and disease. Also, since local farms make more profit, farmers are less likely to sell farmland for development, preserving green space.
Local agriculture is good for consumers, farmers, our community and, our world. Whether by shopping at your local farmers market or considering venturing into a career in farming, you can have a positive impact on your community by growing and buying locally. Support for local farms is support for the whole community. One of the best ways to support local farms is through a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture program. At Trifecta, we are offering a new take on the traditional CSA program with FreshCSA. FreshCSA is a full basket CSA program, meaning it provides the customer not just with local produce, but local meats, dairy, eggs, cheese, snacks, and much more. In addition, FreshCSA is supporting CT top local producers. You as the consumer get to browse through the local farms and cherry pick the food and farmers you’d like to support. We aggregate your food into a weekly CSA share. Every week you’ll receive, fresh local nutritious food from farmers and producers you can trust all while supporting the local food economy. For more information on FreshCSA and to sign up click here.