As we discussed in our blog post 10 Steps to a More Sustainable Diet, the simple action of purchasing food that’s grown or produced nearby can help you cut down on the average 1,500 miles food travels from farm to fork, which means you’ll also help reduce the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere.
5 Ways Buying Your Meat Locally Helps
Because local farmers are unable to simply pick up and move their operations to new locations when business isn’t going as anticipated, buying food locally also allows you to support small farms that are primarily using sustainable techniques.
Purchasing meat locally is particularly important and beneficial not only for your health and budget but also for the environment. Keep reading below to learn about the top 5 benefits of buying meat locally.
Buying local meat can help cut back emissions
- There are fewer food miles associated with purchasing locally raised meat since farmers don’t have to travel far to get the meat into your freezer.
Purchasing local meat supports your community and economy, keeping your dollars local
- Supporting your local farms helps keep farmers self-employed and keeps their farms in your community, which in turn prevents more urban sprawl. If there is no local farm you can purchase from, you can urge your grocer to purchase from local farmers.
Buying meat locally is generally healthier
- Similar to knowing where your fruits and veggies are grown, knowing where your meat comes from and how it’s raised leads to a healthier lifestyle. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with your local farmers and their practices to make sure you are purchasing and consuming foods free from added hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, and/or chemicals. You can also find a local farm that specializes in free-range chicken and organic meats. If you speak to most local farmers, you’ll find they have a deep respect for animals and generally raise animals to have happy lives. Their animals typically are fed natural diets, not pumped full of steroids or antibiotics.
Buying local meat is actually more budget-friendly
- When you purchase local meat, you save the cost of shipping your food across the country, or even the cost of importing it from another country. Additionally, as the meat isn’t passing through a series of wholesalers and retailers, you’ll likely get the absolute best price for the meat (not including clearance items).
Local food, including meat, simply tastes better
- Sustainably raised local meats and produce are known to provide a far superior taste than their industrial farm counterparts. Similarly, pasture-raised and grass-fed meats tend to be much more flavorful and higher quality than factory-farmed varieties.
Consider Another Way: Buying Less Meat
Please consider that meat production in the U.S. accounts for 42% of agricultural greenhouse gases and that beef requires 20 times more farmland than plants, so when it comes to helping the environment, the best thing you can do is to cut back on your intake of meat.
We aren’t suggesting that you give up meat altogether, simply that you incorporate more plants into your daily meals. A flexitarian diet allows you to keep your animal-product consumption low just by eating more veggies. When purchasing your meat, it’s also best and most beneficial, for the reasons we listed above, to always shop locally.