- Freshness: The simple answer is your food is going to be more fresh. When in season, I can drive north of town and buy corn on the cob, picked from the field just hours before hand. It’s so tender and sweet, you can eat it right from the husk without any cooking. Had I bought that same corn at a grocery store chain, who knows when it was harvested or how long it has been there. Obviously, it would have come from somewhere in the corn belt. But, do I really want corn hauled from Iowa when I can get it freshly picked right down the street?
- Cost: Typically, you should expect to pay less for local products. Reason being? Transportation costs will be less. For instance, if you shop at a local farmer’s market every Saturday morning, the only transportation you will be paying for is from their door to the market. I’m sure that it’s a much cheaper trip than strawberries from California [to Indiana.]
- Environmental Concern: Again, not as much transportation. Use of fuel and emission production will be lessened by buying products that are grown close to home. Also, smaller farming outfits “may” use less machinery and herbicides/pesticides to control their smaller growing grounds. In my area, we have several “River Friendly Farms” which I personally love to see. When buying items at the farmer’s market or roadside stand, don’t hesitate to ask how the produce is grown. If it’s full of pesticides, you might just change your mind.
- Support local farmers and economy: Every day, big farming companies are driving the “little guys” out of their family farms. Living in a rural community, this affects us personally. Signs are popping up left and right advertising farmland for sale. It’s sad really. Especially depressing for the people that are losing or forced to sell 3rd and 4th generation family farms. When you support these sellers, they, in turn, spend money right back in to your local economy. It’s one big cycle.
For my family, I have been trying to find a more “organic” alternative to the meats we buy. After the many books I have read over the years, I am turned off by commercial feedlots. Fortunately, I can buy beef locally at Ancilla Beef and Grain Farm, a ministry of Ancilla College ( which, by the way, IS a River Friendly Farm.) I like knowing that I can watch the cattle roam the fields, are grass fed and humanely slaughtered (they are only given grain the last month before butchering, which is grown right on the farm.) I can go into the office and pick the cuts of meat I want right out of the freezer (you can also order full or half cows, butchered to your liking.) To me, purchasing beef in this manor is a better decision.
Now that I have our beef taken care of, I needed to locate more “organic” chicken. The closest I could find was Miller Amish Country Poultry. It’s raised right here in Indiana, mainly by Amish families. It tastes just the way chicken should taste. Whole chickens are small, the way chickens grow naturally – not all pumped up with hormones like commercially grown birds. We won’t buy anything else.
I’m still in search of a pork substitute. Locally, we do have several pork farms along with 4-H auctions and the like. Though, I still need to do my research on how they are raised, fed and slaughtered. All aspects are equally important to me…and should be to you too. Educate!
The entire Affording Organics series: