Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Buying Local And Health

As I have blogged previously, backyard, locally farmed eggs sell quickly at Farmers Markets. Perusing the web and asking people, in my sphere of influence (which are all the personalities in my mind - so at least 100 people) who are more locally focused, about whether they would buy eggs from backyard farmers, it is apparent they will and do and pay more for it. I have a cadre of people who know we have chickens and are lined up for the extra's. I realize I am not going to have enough to bring to a farmers market and that is OK, cause I need more things to do like I need a virus. Economics may dictate my change of mind, but then so could sleep. So, I was curious about the eating local food issue... Is it better to eat local and what factors are effected in eating local. I am not talking about the local BK or California Pizza Kitchen... I mean locally grown food. So here goes -

According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London (I know it is around the world, but economics are economics), a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction. Think about this - going to Safeway or Piggly Wiggly... sends your money off to another state or part of the state, where this money is then sent to suppliers around the country. It is likely your $5 worth of strawberries just went to Chile. Nice... so my $5.00 is not going to be spent by a local grower who could put their profit back into the local economy?

While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer's market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time. OK, there! Its quite possibly healthier.

Ever tried a tomato that was picked and eaten right off the vine? No argument here!

Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be "rugged" or to stand up to the rigors of shipping. This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

In a March 2005 study by the journal Food Policy, it was found that the miles that organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic.
Which gets me to eggs - with the average egg being 90 days old by the time you buy it at your local grocery store... and the way in which hens are kept in hatcheries, how in the world could these eggs be healthy? There is nothing natural about the way eggs are produced versus those in backyards and on true - Cage Free farms. Higher Omega 3, protein, Vitamin D and E...
I might become like Rocky Balboa and start drinking eggs....! Or vomit in my shirt pocket.

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