Thursday, October 04, 2012

Why is Local Important to You?

This summer we've been involved with a new local food market in Huntington WV. Perhaps, involved, is not a strong enough word. We've been neck deep in the planning and building of this idea into a reality. In with us has been a talented and committed group of consumers and producers, a slew of volunteers, donors, and supporters. Talk started in March.  Less than three months ago, a miracle happened and The Wild Ramp opened for business.

The community support has been incredible. Farmers in the area have been excited to be involved. We hear farmers talk of increasing production to meet the demand. Consumers keep us ever on our toes with local products they would like to purchase. And The Wild Ramp is in the middle of  a Kickstarter to improve the store. It has been exciting, and we've been with it from the very beginning.

So, today, when Kellen asked me, "Why do people make such a big deal out of local food?" I was kind of taken a back. How had he failed to catch this when he has watched this entire process unfold?

He does understand how The Wild Ramp helps our farm. Since The Wild Ramp has opened our sales have taken a huge jump. Even Kellen and Lydia have taken products there and made a little money. He understands how The Wild Ramp is more convenient for our customers and more convenient for us. Making  money, Kellen understands.

His question was more aimed at understanding why other people should care about local food. I really didn't have a clear concise answer for him. I think there are so many different reasons people do (and should) care about local food it was hard to give a simple answer.

I talked to him about quality. That he also understands. My family has become food snobs. We didn't intend to make them that way, but it just happened after years of eating the fresh food that we grow. The kids can taste the difference.

He tried to get me by saying he could have the same quality shipped from somewhere else. Maybe, but you lose quality in the shipping time, and you add cost. (Score one for mom.)

I explained that some people who can't raise their own food just want to know where their food is coming from. Sometimes there are health concerns. Other times people care about animal welfare. There are a 100 different reasons why people want to know their farmer.

Some people support local farms (and other local businesses) because it is good for the local economy. Supporting local food keeps money in the local economy. It creates jobs. It creates new businesses. It boosts the community. Not so sure I had Kellen convinced on that.

I know, to many of you, local food is very important. Why is it important to you?  I would love to read your reasons and share them with Kellen.

And it if it is important to you, would you take a moment and check out Ramp Up! The Wild Ramp Kickstarter? Your support by backing or by spreading the news is greatly appreciated! 


  1. One reason local food is important to me: I can be involved. Contributing to my community is invaluable to my spirit.

  2. Local is important to me for many reasons:
    *I want my food dollars to stay in my community, supporting my neighbors
    *I want to eat meat ethically raised on grass without antibiotics
    *I want to avoid GMO "food"
    *I hate the monopoly that is Monsanto
    *I want food that tastes good!
    *I want my children to understand the above, and they learn by seeing and doing

  3. You're right, there are so many reasons it's important that it really is hard to determine which part of the overall equation is most important- which is why I think it's completely a win-win for the consumers... and the farmers... and the animals... and for health... and the community... and the environment!

    If I know my farmers, I can know how the food was raised, how the animals were treated, what pesticides or hormones or antibiotics were used (hopefully none!) And I like animals. Even when raised for food, they deserve to live happy animal lives up to the very last day, not be crowded in factory farms wading in their own feces or stuffed in cages with their beaks cut off.

    Food raised in this way is better for the environment- fewer pesticides that will eventually poison my kids or the honeybees- less oil money spent shipping products from Chile out of season that just don't taste as good - fewer poisons from runoff into water due to intensive factory farming or feedlots.

    I have very little control over how most of the world functions- but my money is one of the few ways I have the power to let people know what's important to me. I'd rather spend my money to "vote" for food that is raised in ways that make sense to me and my world view.

    Keeping money in the community makes sense to me. Why should I support corporations who outsource jobs overseas and make things harder for Americans? When I spend money with local people, the money stays here and supports my neighbors, not global conglomerates. (I'm not even sure I know what a global conglomerate is, but I know I like my neighbors better!)

    Local food- especially food raised sustainably, is better for you! Tests have shown that eggs from free-range chickens who get to eat bugs and wander around have "better" cholesterol profiles. And they taste better! All local food tastes better. It wasn't picked too early so it wouldn't go bad, we can get heirloom types, and it wasn't shipped for a week.

    The human body evolved to eat "real food"- and the processed junk that you can buy in the grocery store is killing people from diabetes, obesity, and heart attacks.

    I could go on and on, but seriously. Win, win, win, win, win for local food!

  4. I think you covered the most important topics. Why is local important to me? 1) I'm saving money. When the food isn't shipped a long way, it costs less. 2) It tastes better. It isn't treated to be shipped a long way, it goes straight from the farm to my table, in less time, retaining all of its good flavor. 3) I'm helping my community, and local farmers, not a big business. In these rough economic times, I think it's important to support smaller businesses because the big businesses aren't helping us. 4) I'm saving my environment. When a big truck, boat or plane isn't involved in getting my food to me, it helps the environment.

  5. Wow! I didnt know we had this in Huntington! Im gonna have to come and see! Possibly even get involved!

    1. I didn't realize you were close to Huntington! Hope you get to come visit soon!