American tradition of the family farm is in danger of fading away as
there are now less than a million people in the U.S. that claim their
primary occupation to be farming. This represents a loss of almost 5
million farms since 1935. Family farms, exhibiting self-sufficiency, are
the foundation of our rural communities. Communities benefit from the
local farmers as they purchase their goods from local merchants and
provide jobs which enhance the local economy. This produces a winning
combination for all.
Usually sold within 24 hours of being harvested, fruits and vegetables
produced locally are fresher and taste better than produce which has
been shipped for a long period of time. Statistics show that produce
purchased in supermarkets may have been shipped from distant states and
countries traveling an average of 1,300 miles for as many as 7 to 14
days. When eaten at the height of ripeness, one reaps the benefits of
the exceptional flavor and nutrients of the produce.
You can do your part to ensure that there will be farms in your
community in the future and that for generations to come there will be
abundant and nourishing food. It’s as easy as buying fresh and buying
local. LOOK FOR THE LABEL and TASTE THE DIFFERENCE.
Shop at your local farmers markets or farm stands where you will find
the freshest food available. One is probably near you as there are more than 112 farmers markets and 175 farm stands in Alabama. Also,
encouraging your local restaurants and grocery stores to purchase from
local farmers will be of benefit to you and your community.
from the local farmer not only financially benefits the farmer
but the community as well. Today’s farmer receives less than 10 cents of
retail food dollar. When farmers sell directly to the consumer, the
middleman is cut out thus producing a higher profit for the farmer. The
farmer then circulates his profits throughout the community with local
merchants creating a cycle that helps to build a strong local economy.
2. Buying from the local farmer allows him to profit which in turn
reduces the likelihood that
he will have to sell his land for development. Agricultural landscape
will only survive as long as the farmer is profitable. Family farms that
are well-managed value the resources of fertile soil and clean water.
Cover crops are grown to prevent erosion, replace nutrients and capture
emissions. Many species of wildlife are in a perfect environment in the
patchwork of our farmers’ fields, hedgerows, and ponds.
3. Buying from the local farmer ensures healthier and better tasting
food. Studies prove that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Produce
purchased locally was probably picked within the past day or two and
provides crispy, sweet and flavorful food. Eating healthy, locally grown
food not only strengthens your family but your community as well. Food
that is shipped long distances is bred for a longer shelf life, not for
4. Buying from the local farmer helps to protect genetic diversity.
little genetic diversity in the produce grown to meet commercial standards. Only varieties that can survive shipping, transporting and
have a long shelf life are chosen. Therefore, only a few hybrid
varieties of fruits and vegetables meet those demands. On the other
hand, local farmers that sell to local grocery stores and restaurants
can produce a wide variety of produce, some of which are heirlooms
passed down from generation to generation because they taste good.
5. Buying from the local farmer helps protect our environment. Local food doesn't have to travel far. This reduces carbon
dioxide emissions and packing materials. Buying local food
also helps to
make farming more profitable and selling farmland for development less
6. Buying from the local farmer helps safeguard your
health. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown enables
you to choose safe food. Buy food from local farmers you trust.