Buying local: is it the latest trend? No one can deny that being a "locavore" -- someone who shops and eats locally grown and produced things -- is pretty cool. But we believe eating and buying local is a trend that is going to stick. Here are just a few reasons why:
Buying local reduces the amount of wasteful transportation that is done to import foods from out of state or out of country. And that reduced shipping makes the cost of local figs that much easier on your wallet.
Buying foods that were grown within 100 miles of you guarantees that the food and products you are buying are fresher (and often tastier).
Shopping local eliminates the need for flashy or excessive packaging, especially when it comes to produce. This helps to preserve the environment by reducing waste, and helps to preserve your bank account by skipping the fee you pay for packaging.
Being a "locavore" makes it more likely that you will be getting more nutrients out of your food. Locally grown produce is often ripened until the time of picking for market, allowing for more nutrients to build up in those fruits and vegetables. And eating local also means eating seasonally; fruits and veggies always have more nutrients when eaten in-season (vs. fewer nutrients when shipped unripe from California or abroad).
It is far less likely that your local farmer is selling you GMO produce. Keep an eye out for the easily contaminated, oft-GMO crops (soy, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes). It's important to always ask farmers if their food is non-GMO. But -- lucky for you -- all of our produce, even the local stuff, is GMO-free.
Supporting local farmers and local producers supports the Charlottesville economy, keeps money within the city and surrounding counties, and helps farmers continue to do what they love.
Community building is a huge part of buying local. We are helping to create and sustain positive community by investing in and interacting with farmers, bakers, candle-makers, kombucha brewers, ice pop creators, and doughnut geniuses.
Wide open spaces: fields of flowers, corn, and beans, forested land, and undeveloped terrain. As the value of local products at market increases, it is less likely that farmland will be offered up for development. Buying local supports the farmers who preserve our rich Virginia land, keeping that land uncontaminated and unpaved. As long as farms are financially viable, that land will continue to exist. Buying local is a vote for preserving open spaces.
Farms and undeveloped agricultural lands are sanctuaries for wildlife, including our fragile honeybee population. Farms that are well-kept (without the aid of poisonous pesticides or GMO-crops) help to reduce the impact of pollution and erosion so common throughout the country. And farmers who employ rotating cover-crops reduce erosion and draw nutrients back into the soil. Buying local is a vote for the environment.
Supporting farmers today makes it possible for farmers of the next generation to pave their own way. And teaching the next generation the ways of their fathers and forefathers is vital to preserving traditional farming practices and culture.
Unique businesses keep our community vital and interesting; having a range of competing, innovative brands around helps towns thrive. The fact that our town is home to businesses that can't be found anywhere else is part of what makes Charlottesville great. We all benefit from the high quality of products from all of the different vendors around.