Almost everyone has heard about the benefits of buying and eating “local.” Popularity for this practice grows, and why not, when the term itself has increasingly been used in partnership with words like “sustainability,” and “healthy.” So, is eating local really that healthy? The answer could be yes, or no, depending on just how much research has been done by the consumer buying the local products. Consumers need to be aware that local food producers, regardless of their actual farming techniques, are trying to cash in on the increasing popularity of buying local as a way to become more healthful. Yes, buying local has benefits, but just because foods are grown in the local area, doesn’t guarantee that the foods are safer for people to eat. Farmers close to home can use harmful chemical just as easily as farmers far away. Consumers should be aware of this, and if concerned, take some active steps to find out about the produce practices of the farmers in their area. It’s great to buy local, but since anyone can use the term to market their products, if healthy is the goal, a person may want to try organic. In our marketplace the use of the word “local” cannot be regulated, but the word “organic” can. Choosing organic foods that are grown locally could reap the most rewards for us and our planet.
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