Why Buy Local?
Did you know that a whopping 95% of all food products in Illinois are not grown here, but instead are imported from other states and countries? That means 95% of the money that Illinois spends on food is being exported out of state and not staying in our local economies.
The food we import into our state has traveled an average of 1,500 miles. This compromises cost, freshness, and healthiness. Often times to keep it “fresh," it may be treated with synthetic preservatives while it sits for days in distribution centers.
Much of today’s meat products are raised through gigantic factory-scale farm settings, focused more on mass production and profits and less on the health, wellbeing and fair treatment of land and livestock. Happily, smaller family farms are now making a comeback. These smaller-scale operations tend to raise livestock in a just and human manner, giving them room to roam, freedom to eat a natural diet, and protecting and caring for them to insure that they are of highest quality.
Large-scale agriculture is a leading cause of environmental destrcution. Chemical runoff pollutes rivers and streams, poor land management depletes soil nutrients and increase carbon dioxide pollution, and the processing, packaging, and shipping of products uses large amounts of fossil fuels. Smaller-scale operations, which must make the most of their small plots of land, typically use environmentally friendly practices that conserve soil, use no or fewer chemicals, and protect water sources to insure that the land will be productive for years to come.
Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you're engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.
One of the great things about supporting local farmers is that money spent on their products stays close to home directly benefitting our communities and families. Check it out: if every Illinois household dedicated just $10 of their weekly grocery dollars towards products raised in our state a whopping $47 million would be re-invested in the Illinois economy.