Why Local & Sustainable?

Why it is more expensive and why it is important to consider the investment
Published by the Kennebec Local Food Initiative, 2013
Written and Compiled by Sarah Miller

We know that buying small and local is not realistic for everyone’s budget…no matter how much you believe in it.   At the same time, we know that as a society, we’ve gotten used to the low prices of subsidized and large-scale farming.  The reality is that local, small, sustainable and fair DOES cost more and for good reasons.  In addition, the cost of food produced at large-scale and far away agribusiness goes beyond a dollar amount.  We here at KLFI ask that you keep these things in mind as you make choices.

And guess what– the choice between food that has been grown on industrial farms, far away and food that has been grown on a small farm one town over does not have to be black and white.  You don’t have to choose one over the other 100% of the time.  More realistically, the food choices you make will vary and co-exist and reflect your budget and the complexity of the food system in your area.

For those of you who have less wiggle room in your budgets, there are typically a few ways that local and sustainable food can be worked into your household:

  • buying in bulk or through a buying club can often be less expensive

  • a number of farmers’ markets now accept SNAP

  • there are food pantries that source from local farms

  • there are farms that are happy to trade labor for food

  • there are opportunities to learn how to grow your own household garden

Give us a shout if you want more info on any of the above, or keep reading if you want to delve deeper into the subject.  And to make us all proud of our buy local efforts, Maine has just jumped to 2nd place on the Locavore Index, read more here.

The most important thing is that we all become aware of the reasons behind the difference in price and understand the impacts of the choices we make when eating any meal.