Top Five Reasons to Support Local
by Ellie Watson
January 15, 2023
It’s true. Sometimes supporting local takes a little extra effort. When buying locally grown products, that may look like an extra trip to the farmers market or produce stand. However, many modern farms provide alternate ways to buy local products, including at the grocery store, through CSA boxes (think weekly or monthly boxes curated based on season for delivery or pickup) and even online.
No matter your preferred way to purchase locally grown produce, honey, meat, nuts, jams and more, here are the top five reasons to buy locally grown goodness.
5) Health Benefits
When produce is grown locally, farmers harvest the product at peak ripeness and it often reaches your home the same day. This allows your fruits and veggies to grow to maturity and contain as many nutrients as possible! Many Alabama beef farmers boast super lean ground beef, even reporting they don’t have to drain off excess fat when it’s cooked. Local honey is thought by many to be a surefire way to prevent seasonal allergies, cure colds and boost your immune system. You just don’t get these kind of health perks from foreign products.
4) Protect Our Environment
Buying local allows you to do your part to protect the environment. Alabama farmers use safe, scientifically sound agricultural practices to ensure they are being responsible stewards of the land that produces our food, fiber and fuel. You can learn more about these sustainable growing practices at DownToEarthAL.com. In addition to these high growing standards, buying local allows you to limit your carbon footprint because of reduced fuel emissions. Studies show the average piece of produce travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate. Now imagine the emissions reductions when you purchase your products from right here in Alabama instead!
3) Better Quality Products
Sweet Grown Alabama products are just downright better. Period. Don’t believe me? Some of the state’s top chefs like Frank Stitt and David Bancroft prioritize locally grown ingredients due to the extreme difference in quality when compared to non-local alternatives. Cotton sheets grown in Alabama by Red Land Cotton are such high-quality they continually receive national attention from groups like Fox News and Forbes. Locally grown cut flowers stay beautiful for days or weeks longer than bouquets from Colombia. Once you try Sweet Grown Alabama products for yourself, it will be hard to go back to just any old alternative.
2) Support the Local Economy
You may be hesitant to purchase local because of the costs. But sometimes (like we are currently experiencing with eggs) farm fresh products cost the same or less than other options! And even if the local option costs a few cents more than the non-local competition, the ripple effect of buying local pays dividends for our state. Studies show for every dollar spent locally, up to seventy cents is reinvested right back into your local economy! Local grocery stores, farms and restaurants hire people in your community. Those people buy cars and build homes in your neighborhood. They send their children to the local dance studio, support the local hardware store, tithe at the local church and patronize the local restaurants. See the ripple? Unfortunately, when we buy products from foreign countries, we are often padding the pockets of those who seek to do harm instead of hardworking American families.
1) Know Your Grower
Finally, when you buy local you have the opportunity to know your grower. You can look a farmer in the eye (or Facebook message) and ask him or her how your products are grown. Are you interested in specialty growing methods? You can connect with farmers who use organic practices, grow heritage breed hogs and grass-fed beef. The internet is full of misinformation and fear mongering related to our food and fiber, and the best way to make safe choices for your family is to glean information straight from the source. Sweet Grown Alabama farmers are a wealth of knowledge and never grow any product they wouldn’t personally use or give to their children. Some farms even welcome visitors to learn more through tours, u-pick and other agritourism experiences. Do not hesitate to connect with them using the contact information on our online searchable database and ask questions about their farming practices. You might also make a friend in the process!
Sweet Grown Alabama members rely on consumers like you to support their farm, store, market or restaurant. Sweet Grown Alabama makes it easy to find locally grown products near you using our online searchable database. Type in your zip code and commit to support one of the local farms or businesses in your neighborhood today!