Over the past decade, the local food craze has been one of the most powerful forces shaping how we buy and relate to food. As the popularity of books like The 100 Mile Diet attests, people are hungry for alternatives to the homogenized, industrial food that we find in most supermarkets.
But is local food - and local meat in particular - really all that different from industrially produced food? Here are five reasons why the answer to that question is "yes."
1. It's Better for You
Is local meat really that much healthier for you than meat raised in other provinces, states, or countries - aren't farming practices pretty standard everywhere in our globalized world?
Local meat isn't just meat that was raised in your area. When people talk about local food, generally they are referring to the kind of small artisanal producers who flourish in particular communities and tend not to ship their food far from where it is grown.
It is actually possible to say that local food is quantitatively healthier, because local producers don't rely on the same kinds of factory farming techniques and powerful preservatives that massive international corporations need in order to keep food fresh so that it can be shipped long distances.
2. It's Better for the Environment
As more and more people become aware of just how damaging factory farming is to the environment, many are turning to local meat in order to find more sustainable food.
Local farmers have a vested interest in caring for their patch of earth, and tend to be much more focused on the long term. After all, they know that this is the land they will be passing on to their children and their children's children!
3. It's Tastier
It's no secret that fresh food is always better. That's why local farmer's markets and butcher shops remain such an essential part of the food industry (though it is also now possible to have local gourmet meat delivered to your door in some areas).
If you want to experience the difference that eating local makes when it comes to flavour, just purchase a couple of fresh steaks from a local farm and see how much juicier, richer, and more flavourful the meat is!
4. It Helps Support Local Farmers
The twenty-first century has not been kind to small-scale farmers. With massive agribusinesses controlling an ever-larger portion of the global food market, the kind of small family-run operation that has traditionally been the backbone of American farming is in big trouble. Buying local meat helps put money in these vulnerable farmers' pockets - money that will, in all likelihood, then be cycled back into the communities these farmers are such an integral part of.
5. It Connects You to the Land
In a profoundly alienated age, when everything we buy and use in our daily lives seems to have been made by strangers on the other side of the world, there is something comforting about knowing that the food you are eating was grown and raised just a few miles down the highway!
Clearly, eating local meat is a great way to improve your life, your health, and the health of the planet. And with plenty of local food options becoming available to consumers everywhere, switching to local has never been easier!