The term local food refers to efforts to build regional self-sustainability through consumption of locally grown produce, in contrast to the corporate farming that provides much of our food today. Local areas are typically defined as falling within a radius of 50 or 100 miles and adhere to a regional cuisine and traditional produce. Supporters of local food emphasize its limited carbon footprint
(due to reduced travel and production costs) and its sense of small-scale community building, seeing local food as an essential part of a return to sustainability. Critics point out the limited selection in most local markets as well as the higher cost of small, labor-intensive farms.
Regardless of the environmental and social impact of local food, the most easily available organic
and healthier options will be local—whether at farmers’ markets, specialty shops, or in your own backyard. By growing some of your own produce, you can promote your own sustainability
, continue the agricultural traditions of your region, and eliminate carbon costs from the equation altogether. Consider including as many local options in your diet as possible, and highlight them with specialized imports from other regions as necessary. By supporting local farmers, you can foster community while cooking with some of the highest-quality ingredients available.