North Durham has an incredibly rich farming community, in the summer months there are plentiful amounts of locally grown fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat in the area.
With locally grown food in high supply, it is important for people living near these farming communities to support local farmers.
Produce purchased from local sources tastes better. Crops are picked and consumed at their peak, and products like cheese are usually hand-crafted for best flavour. Livestock products are typically processed at nearby facilities which have a direct relationship with the farmer. This results in higher quality meat because it isn’t being processed for transportation in a large industrial facility.
Locally grown food is also the healthier choice. When it takes a shorter time for the produce to get to your table, food is fresher and less nutrients are lost. Imported food is older and has to travel through train, truck, or plane, and then sit in a warehouse before it reaches the consumer. This results in a shorter shelf life compared to freshly grown fruits and vegetables.
But buying food locally doesn’t only mean fresher tasting food that is better for you, it also supports local families. The wholesale prices farmers get for their products are low. They are usually close to the cost of production. Local farmers who sell directly to consumers cut out the middleman and get paid full retail price for their food. This helps farming families keep their land and continue to farm.
Buying locally also benefits the environment. Better financial support enables farmers to better manage their farms and equipment, saving time and resources, increasing crop quality. Well managed farms protect water sources, remove carbon from the atmosphere, conserve fertile soil, and provide a habitat for the wildlife in the community.
According to statistics Canada, nearly one third of agricultural land in Canada is considered a wildlife habitat.
Through supporting local farmers, you support the environment and get better tasting, healthier food. You are also helping to ensure there will be farms in your community for the years to come.