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Defining Local Eating

Q:

What exactly does “eating local” mean?

Sharon Richardson, Southern Pines, NC

A:

“Local” can mean anything from your county or immediate area to your state or region. People eat local for different reasons. For some, it’s about food safety: Reducing the number of steps from farm to table makes it possible to see and talk to a local grower, a transparency not available with a faceless distant agribusiness. Many of us eat local because it keeps us in touch with the seasons, tastes better, and means that we might get varieties of fruits and vegetables that don’t ship well. And a lot of us eat local because we think it leaves a lighter footprint on the planet, saving energy because the food doesn’t have to travel as far. Eating locally grown food is also a way to keep our money within our communities, by supporting local growers instead of far-off farms. It’s not an all-or-nothing venture—every local purchase helps.

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