What is the difference between local and sustainable food and how can buying it make a difference?
Local food– is food grown close to where its bought and consumed. The main difference is that it doesn’t travel too far before it reaches your plate. Transporting food across long distances burns fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gases. By buying from local markets, it not only reduces the fossil fuel use and greenhouse gases, it also supports your local economy!
Sustainable food– has a lower impact on the environment by being produced in a socially responsible manner, even though it is not always local. Food produced sustainably may even protect biodiversity, wildlife habitats, and respect workers.
Sustainability aims to support buying food as local as possible, but just because it’s local does not always mean it’s produced sustainably. Local food may involve chemicals, fertilizers, factory farming or hormone use. Therefore, when you go to buy local food, make sure to always ask and find out if the farmer or gardener used sustainable methods.
So where do you go if you want to buy local, sustainable food?
What if you want to grow it? Find out how you can plan(t) your seasonal menu here, or keep reading for other great ideas!
Farmers markets are one place to go to purchase food grown by local farmers. People are also able to interact with the farmers directly to ask them about the gardening process and how the food is grown.
If you like to garden yourself, community gardens may be for you. The land is shared collectively with people in the area, but each individual is able to plant vegetables for their own use. Not only do these gardens give a sense of community, they provide fresh produce, a connection to the environment and neighborhood improvement.
If you are unable to plant your own produce or make it to a farmer’s market, there are also food delivery options and local food restaurants. These options still allow people to be environmentally conscious but are more convenient. For Winnipeg’s local restaurants and food delivery places, visit these links:
Remember, the key is to ask and stay informed about the food you might want to buy.