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Nikki Keltner
Program Coordinator - Stephenson County
University of Illinois Extension
Highland Community College, Bldg R
2998 W Pearl City Rd
Freeport, IL 61032
Phone: 815-235-4125
FAX: 815-232-9006

Stephenson Local Foods Initiative

Stephenson Local Foods Initiative

Why Buy Local?

Why Buy Local?

Local foods systems provide several advantages over conventional and global markets. Buying locally strengthens regional economies, supports family farms, provides delicious, "fresh-from-the-field" foods for consumers, preserves the local landscape, and can help foster a sense of community.

The concept of buying local is simply to buy food (or any good or service) produced, grown, or raised as close to your home as possible. In the U.S., the average meal travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate. As a result, food is less fresh, contains fewer nutrients, and requires expensive, resource-intensive transportation and packaging. Buying local is a key component of sustainability.

Reasons to buy local include:

Buying local food strengthens your regional economy. Purchasing food that was grown and harvested locally keeps your money circulating within your community, keeping wealth in your region.

Buying local food supports family farmers in your community. Supporting local farms can help to create jobs for your region. A strong local economy insulates your region from national and global recessions. By helping family farms financially, you sustain your family and community with delicious, healthy local foods.

Buying local food provides high-quality, fresh foods. Locally-produced food is often fresher than conventional products grown far away and shipped in trucks for several days. You can give local farmers feedback on the quality and freshness of their produce.

Buying local food fosters community growth. Family farms are part of the American tradition of self-sufficiency and serve as the basis of local communities. Local farmers markets provide places for community members to meet and socialize.

Buying local lets you connect with food producers concerning food safety and nutrition. Locally-grown foods can be high in nutrients, often reaching you within 24 hours of harvest, whereas produce shipped from out of state may be up to a week old. When you buy locally, you can ask farmers directly whether they use safe farming practices, what they spray on their crops, and what they feed to their animals.

Buying local preserves the natural environment. By supporting local agriculture, you help protect farmland from urban sprawl and development. Protection of local farmland means protection of open spaces, natural ecosystems, and biodiversity. Buying local food helps to reduce dependence on foreign oil needed to ship food thousands of miles.

Once you start eating fresh food, there's no going back. Join the growing movement of consumers around the world who are shunning fast food and making that little extra effort to find food raised nearby. You'll be glad you did.