Buying local produce can be a luxury in its experience and quality, especially when compared to shopping at chain grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.
However, eating local may have a impact larger than many people expect.
In the past few years, more environmentalists and researchers have promoted shopping local produce. But the one of the main downsides is price, which CAS first-year Niha Chandar finds to just a small factor.
“I think it’s worth it if you can afford local produce because it’s overall a healthier lifestyle,” Chandar said.
GLS sophomore Bolor Enkhbold supports local produce and enjoys going to the weekly farmer’s market at Union Square. Enkhbold prefers picking local produce over big brand stores because she knows where her food is coming from.
“I like it better knowing that my food is not coming from somewhere far and not spending 20 hours in the back of a truck,” Enkhbold said.
Although she favors local farms, Bolor mentions that she does her usual grocery shopping at a regular grocery store.
“I just go to Trader Joe’s, but I’m not sure they have locally sourced stuff,” Bolor said.
These big brand stores are the largest competition for small farms. Tyler Bulich, a farmer who sells his produce at the Bulich Mushroom’s stand at Union Square, gave some insight to the obstacles local farmers face. Despite the lower prices big name corporations provide, local produce provides much more, according to Bulich.
“You can’t beat the freshness right from farm to table,” Bulich said. “It cuts out the middleman, and sometimes with a supermarket, there are two middle men.”
Many local farms and produce providers also aim to give back to the community where they grow. Bulich listed some of the contributions his farm provides to the community.
“We do donations for a a big wildlife preservation,” Bulich said. “We donate to our local Little League.”
Buying local and ultimately donating to local communities keeps business and revenue local, in Bulich’s eyes.
Greg from Terhune Orchards reiterated that local produce is much fresher. But he gave an interesting take stating that despite the fact that he could sell the acres and turn them into condominiums to take millions, there’s a greater reason behind why he farms.
“It’s a way of life,” Greg said. “It’s been in the family.”
It is clear that local farms have fresher produce, and most farmers care about their products, so the price is justifiable. In an effort to boost our health and support local communities, shopping local has no down sides other than the price, and your body will even thank you later.
Email Anah Oozeerally at [email protected]