Recently, I’ve taken to the idea of buying locally grown foods. This idea has been bouncing around the zeitgeist for some time now and usually when I hear about it, the reasoning behind it is the environment. Local foods should supposedly reduce your diet’s carbon footprint, since it has a shorter distance to travel to you.
That may often be true (though in some cases it may actually have a smaller impact to buy products from the global market), but it’s not exactly the kind of reason that vaults it to the top of my priorities. There are so many ways in which our lives impact the local and global environment, it’s hard to know where to begin. I have more personal reasons for looking into local food sources.
I’d like to be able to look my farmer in the eye. I want to find out how she raises her food. I want to know how she treats her animals and what she feeds them. I want to know whether her animals get to wander a pasture and graze or whether they spend time in a feed lot. And I’d like to be welcome to visit her farm. Do her animals eat the kinds of foods that they would eat if left to their own devices, or are they force fed whatever fattens them up the cheapest, even if it makes them sick. It’s nice to know that your lettuce has been grown without chemicals, but I’m more concerned with whether the cows I eat spend their days covered in their own filth and pumped full of antibiotics.