Why local food is important?
1. Less stress on the environment – Buying local means your food hasn’t travelled thousands of miles and used all that carbon to get to your plate. Through this reduction, your food requires less packaging, less storage, less damaged and therefore less waste.
2. Better nutrition – Nutrients in fruits and veggies start to deplenish once they are harvested. When you buy local produce, straight from the farmer, you know your produce is fresh and at peak nutrition. It hasn’t spend hours, days or weeks travelling across countries and it hasn’t been in cold storage for months on end. Shorter transportation means fewer nutrient losses. This is why local farms can provide you with more nutrient-packed foods compared to foods grown across the country and especially across the world. Not only that, foods that travel are more likely to be treated with chemicals to prolong their shelf-life. Ick!
3. You’re supporting your local economy – There are around 134,000 farm businesses in Australia, 99% of which are family-owned. Between them, they supply almost 93% of Australia’s domestic food supply and the complete food supply chain employs around 1.6 million people (these stats come from here). It also keeps money circulating within the community. More than 50% of money spent within a community stays within the community as opposed to 15-30% when spent in non-local businesses. Australia imports around $12 billion dollars of food a year. That’s a lot of money that leaves our local communities. 7. As well as feeding the nation, farmers are the caretakers of a large proportion of our land. In fact, farmers look after 70% of Australia’s landmass! While they are one of the lowest subsidised in the world, the majority of subsidies they do receive go towards environmental programs and Landcare initiatives, which is good – the environment is all our responsibility. With our lack of water and geologically ‘old’ soil, Australia is relatively disadvantaged when it comes to agriculture. They’ve had to develop very efficient farming practices and as a result, they are world leaders in dryland farming, natural resource management and sustainable agriculture [source].
4. It’s safer – less exposure to contamination, and any exposure is to the bugs in your local environment. Australian producers are world-renowned for safe, disease-free, high-quality food products and because of that, our products are in Part of the reason for the high quality is because the food industry is from farm to plate.
5. Seasonal variety – eating locally improves the range of foods you eat throughout the year and improves the diversity of locally grown crops