It makes good sense to eat local. Journalist and sustainable agriculture guru Michael Pollan’s advice is to: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants…Mostly what’s in season and grown not too far away.”
While there’s no strict definition of ‘local’, we often talk about the ‘100 mile’ table which, for the Gold Coast, extends our food bowl to the Scenic Rim and Northern Rivers.
The Scenic Rim’s Eat Local Week takes place from 29 June to 7 July, and the Taste of Tweed runs from 5 to 14 July, both festivals celebrating the food and farmers of the local area through festivals, farm gate events and culinary experiences.
There are lots of reasons why we should buy local produce:
- Supporting local. When you buy locally, your money stays in your local area. You are not only supporting the local economy but also local farmers rather than food conglomerates.
- You will be eating fresh food in the season that it is grown. This means that it will have been picked when ripe so will have better flavour. They have not been artificially ‘ripened’ with ethylene gas.
- Fresh food will have more nutrients and will better promote your health because it has not been stored in large warehouses for a long period of time. Also, studies have found that fruit and vegetables grown in season have higher nutrient content than those grown out of season.
- Small, local farms often offer more variety than large agricultural monocrop systems. Smaller organic farmers may grow a variety of organic and heirloom produce that you might not find at the supermarket.
- Local growers can tell you where and how your food has been grown. Although they may not hold organic certification, many local farms are pesticide and herbicide free, providing us with safer produce.
- Food safety. It is generally safer to buy local because it is small production and conforms to Australian standards.
- When you consider the carbon footprint of transporting goods long distances to consumers, it makes total sense to buy your products locally. Instead of wasting energy shipping your food halfway around the world, your food will have less ‘food miles’ and a smaller carbon footprint, using far less resources being farmed and transported locally.
- Meeting your local farmers, food producers and catching up with family and friends at your local markets is an excellent way to feel connected to the world around you, increasing health for body, mind, and spirit.
NOTE: This article was published in The Sun community newspaper on 9 July 2019.