1. IT SUPPORTS LOCAL FARMERS
By buying directly from growers’ or farmers’ markets, you cut out the middlemen. That means more of the money you spend on food goes into the pockets of the producers, which helps them to stay in business and make a decent profit.
2. THE LOCAL ECONOMY IS GIVEN A BOOST
Money you spend on locally grown food can help to increase the financial stability of your community. If local farms get more business, they may well need to employ more staff. The creation of new jobs in your area and having more people in employment will also mean that other local businesses are more likely to prosper.
3. IT CUTS ‘FOOD MILES’
Look at the labels on packaged fruit and vegetables in the supermarket. Sometimes the country of origin is given, in which case you will probably discover that a great deal of the produce on offer comes from all corners of the globe. In most cases it will have been transported by air so that it can reach the shelves while it is still fresh, which adds up to an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Research shows that choosing to buy locally produced food, from a farmers’ market or farm gate, can cut the carbon dioxide emissions linked to food distribution by up to 99.8 per cent.
4. IT REDUCES WASTE
A proportion of the food grown for supermarkets is rejected, because it’s the ‘wrong’ size or shape, or not quite the ‘right’ colour. All of this perfectly good food goes to waste. Growers selling their own produce directly will offer you a variety of shapes and sizes – just as nature intended.
5. FOOD WILL BE TASTIER
Try peas straight from the pod … or visit a farmer’s stall and buy sweet corn, freshly picked from the field a few hours earlier. These vegetables will often be so sweet and tender that you could almost eat them raw. From the moment food is picked, any natural sugars begin to turn into starch. So the further produce has to travel and the longer it takes to reach you, the less tasty it is likely to be.
6. YOU HAVE MORE CHOICE
When farmers cultivate produce specifically for supermarkets, they may restrict themselves to the most popular fruit and vegetable varieties – often the most bland. If they can sell directly, farmers can cater to the tastes of individual customers and offer a wider range of produce, which means that you get a larger selection of flavours to enjoy.