Is Eating Locally Eating Sustainably?

Not really… First off, let’s explain what eating sustainable foods really mean. Sustainable Table, a food program by GRACE Communications Foundation defines it as “the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare”. So, while eating local can be eating sustainably, the two do not always go hand in hand.

Sustainable farms benefit the environmental preservation because it does not rely on toxic chemical pesticides or fertilizers instead farms trying to grow sustainable food rely on natural soil, and water with the use of crop rotation, conservation tillage, as well as pasture-based livestock (Sustainable Table). Sustainable eating also protect public health because farms do not use hazardous pesticides, farmers protect the humans that consume their crops because they do not expose themselves or crops to pathogens, toxins or pollutants (Sustainable Table). Sustainable eating also helps communities because it provides farmers, farmworkers, food processors, and others in the food system with fair working conditions, wage and safety (Sustainable Table).

So while the term “locally grown” allows consumers to know where their food came from, it does not always mean that their food is local as well as sustainable. Consumers should always look for the terms local and sustainable to ensure the freshness of their food. Because, sustainable food is not only healthier for you, but they taste better, have animals are more likely to live in healthier environments, and are more environmentally friendly. So, eat local, and sustainably!

To find a way to eat more sustainably, follow this link and find farms, stands and growers, near you!