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Food Sustainability: Why Shopping Local Matters

| Ivana Mikheil

One of the best ways we can reduce our carbon footprint and encourage a sustainable food system is by focusing on where our food comes from. The benefits to both you and the planet are without doubt worth making the switch to shopping local.


To list a few, the personal benefits to you as a consumer include:


1. Knowing where your food comes from and how it’s made. Taking the time to learn about your food is so important. Oftentimes, mass produced food items come with a ton of extras, and ingredients you might not want to be feeding to yourself or your family. Despite the efforts to combat it, food fraud such as fake honey (made with cheaper sweeteners) is still an issue.

2. Better taste and more variety. Buying locally made food is a great way to eat seasonally. Food that is harvested within its natural season is more flavourful and the tastes are fuller. For example, our summer, spring, and fall honeys offer a variety of flavours and depth dependent on the flowers grown in that season.

Food is also only as good as the environment it’s made in, and more variety in produce comes with more nutrients while also being significantly better for the soil.

3. Supporting your community. You get to keep money in the community rather than spending at large international chains, creating jobs and contributing to it being self-sufficient. You support local businesses owned by families who are less likely to leave and are invested in the community’s future.


The planet also benefits from the following: 


1. Reduced food miles. Buying local food significantly reduces the amount of resources your food uses to get from where it’s made to your plate. Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are cut down by the lowered transportation.

2. Reduced packaging waste. Compared to the long journey international food will take, local producer’s distribution channels are considerably shortened and the extra packaging for the longer transportation is no longer needed.

3. Sustainable agricultural practices. Industrialized agriculture often involves chemical fertilizers, heavy use of pesticides, and general practices that deplete our natural resources. Local beekeepers give bees the benefit of thriving in biodiverse environments, without subjecting them to lethal chemicals.

And the list of economic, social, environmental, and health benefits of shopping locally goes on. So, the next time you need groceries, consider the impacts of where you’re getting your food from. Shopping locally also helps rekindle our connection to food that many of us have become so detached from. If you’re looking for where you can buy local, start by looking for farmers markets in your area! You can find our goods at the Orangeville Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9:00am-1:00pm.