Supporting the local economy not only helps local businesses bottom line, it can also mean a healthier consumer.  When foods are bought at the grocery store, it often travels thousands of miles.  The food is often picked before it is ripe, and then sprayed with chemicals so the produce looks ripe when placed in the grocery store.  Allowing food to ripen before harvest is essential for getting the full nutrient value of the produce.  This can be achieved by purchasing locally grown food.  In addition, this will reduce the carbon foot-print when produce only travels 10 miles as opposed to 1500.

There are other advantages besides the nutrition and carbon foot-print to buying local.  Buying locally-grown food supports healthier eating by eating foods in season.  Humans and Mother Nature are more in sync than most think.  There is a certain harmony to eating locally grown foods in season. 

Another advantage to buying local is direct communication with the food growers at the local markets.  Farmers know if we are looking for organically grown food or perhaps beef from cows that are grass fed.  Farm visits are often an option as well.  Local farmers can get information directly from the consumer and make appropriate changes.  Contrary, food manufacturers and growers that are thousands of miles away often only make changes after there is noted market share loss.   

In addition, local non-chain restaurants have an option to use locally grown food.  Eating at these restaurants not only helps the restaurant bottom line, but the farm as well.  And as more support is given to these restaurants, more people can be employed at the restaurant and farms, growing, harvesting, delivering food, and working at the markets.  The local economy can continue to thrive as demand increases locally and more jobs are created. 

As consumers make better health choices, better choices for the environment by buying local, demand for local food in Arizona will change.  Supporting our local farmers, restaurants, and the like, not only makes good economic sense, it makes good health sense.

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