Why Buy Local?

So All of Us Can Grow Up Big And Strong:

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Studies show the nutrient value of fruits and vegetables is significantly higher when they are picked ripe and nutritional value diminishes substantially after harvest. That’s a problem when most produce in the U.S. is harvested before it is fully ripe and travels an average of 1500 miles to get to your plate, which generally takes between 4 and 7 days. (1,2)

  • In fact, your average fresh vegetable loses up to 45% of its nutritional value between being picked and landing on a grocery store shelf. That’s not a problem when you buy from your local farmer whose products have generally been picked within 24 hours. (3,4)

  • 70% of the American diet is made up of processed foods, which have been linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. The U.S. currently ranks just 37th globally in life expectancy. (5)

  • Local food systems, such as farmers markets and community gardens, often times increase the availability of healthy food items in a community and encourage consumers to make healthier food choices. (6)

  • Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables you to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations. (8)

To Keep Wilbur and Chicken Little Happy:

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In the United States, 81.5% of pigs are raised on farms with 2,000 pigs or more and about 70% of U.S. beef cattle come from farms with at least 5,000 head of cattle- Talk about overcrowding! (9,10)

  • Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, confine animals for at least 45 days or more per year in an area without vegetation.(11)

  • Fifty million pounds of antibiotics are produced in the U.S. each year. Twenty million pounds are given to animals. 80% is used on livestock to promote more rapid growth, while the remaining 20% is used to help control disease, which occurs because of the tightly confined conditions. (12)

  • When you purchase supermarket poultry and pork, which was likely raised in crowded conditions and fed unnecessary antibiotics to insure it would survive, you are contributing to the rise of disease-resistant bacteria which threaten human health. (13,14)

To Keep Our Pockets Heavy:

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Illinois contains some of the richest farm ground in the world, yet we import about 95% of our food, meaning that 95% of our food dollars are being exported and not staying with in our local economies. (15)

  • For every $100 spent at local businesses, $45 gets reinvested back into our neighborhoods, compared to only $14 if you spend your money at big-chain businesses (16)

  • If Central Illinois consumers bought just 15 percent of their food directly from local farmers, $639 million would be pumped back into the economy. (17)

  • A 20 percent increase in local production, processing, and purchasing will generate $20 to $30 billion of new economic activity annually within Illinois’ borders and create thousands of new jobs. (18)

So We Can All Breathe Easy:

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The average distance our food travels is 1500 miles, mostly by air and truck, increasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and increasing our dependence on petroleum. Imagine how much transportation energy you conserve from buying local! (19)

  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide (this is more than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined) (20)

To Show Some Respect for Mother Nature...She’s Our Mother After-All:

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The industrial agriculture model of food production results in harmful effects to our environment including soil destruction and erosion, chemical run-off into water systems, and the development of weeds and bugs resistant to herbicides and pesticides.

  • As a result of fertilizer runoff into the Mississippi River, there’s a 5000 square foot dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where nothing can live. That’s the size of Connecticut! (21)

  • About 44% of assessed stream miles, 64% of assessed lake acres, and 30% of assessed bay and estuarine square miles are not clean enough to support uses such as fishing and swimming. Agricultural chemical run-off has been cited as a leading cause of this water pollution. (22)

  • Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate. In the last half decade alone 30% of the national bee population has disappeared and nearly a third of all bee colonies in the U.S. have perished. This is due in large part to pesticide usage in industrial agriculture which kills bees or weakens their immune systems. Monsanto’s BT insecticide has been linked as a major contributor. (23)

For Our Neighbors, Farmer John:

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The U.S. family farm industry has witnessed the loss of 1.25 million farms since the early 1960s, that means less family farms living in our communities and more industrial farming and big corporations shipping our food from thousands of miles away. (24)

  • When you shop at a grocery store, only 15.8 cents of every dollars goes back to the farmer. When you buy directly from your local farmer, they get 100% of every dollar. (25)

  • By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farmers in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food. (26)

Sources

1. http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/122868/err97_1_.pdf

2. http://www.cuesa.org/learn/how-far-does-your-food-travel-get-your-plate

3. http://ucanr.edu/sites/ceplacerhorticulture/EatLocal/Why/

4. Institute of Food Research (IFR, Extra LTD)

5. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health-jan-june13-food_04-29/

6. http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/122868/err97_1_.pdf

7. http://www.sustainabletable.org/263/pesticides

8. http://www.sustainabletable.org/254/local-regional-food-systems

9. http://www.sustainabletable.org/859/industrial-livestock-production

10. http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/ffarms.asp

11. http://michigan.sierraclub.org/issues/greatlakes/articles/cafofacts.html

12. http://www.epa.gov/ocirpage/hearings/testimony/105_1997_1998/051398.htm

13. http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/foodsafety/meat-inspection/factory-farm-chicken/

14. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html

15. http://www.familyfarmed.org/foodfarmsjobs/FoodFarmsJobsreport.pdf

16. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5105706

17. Ken Meter Study, “Building Economic Recovery Through Local Food Systems” http://www.crcworks.org/crcppts/ilcent11.pdf

18. http://www.familyfarmed.org/foodfarmsjobs/FoodFarmsJobsreport.pdf

19. https://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/why-buy-locally-grown

20. (Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, a 2006 report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/facts-on-animal-farming-and-the-environment/

21. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20140804_deadzone.html

22. http://water.epa.gov/aboutow/owow/waterqualityfacts.cfm

23. http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-extinction-of-the-bees/5375684

24. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/safefood/newsltr/v11n3s02.html

25. US Department of Agriculture Economic Resource Service

http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2011-june/data-feature-a-new-look-at-where.aspx#.U_eh0vldUW4

26. http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/buylocal.html

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