Farmland is Disappearing
More than 40 acres of farm and ranch land are lost every hour, because of sprawl and development, reports American Farmland Trust. This organization's mission is to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land.
As these folks remind us, "No farms, no food."
Farmers Face Looming Crisis
Many farmers and ranchers are struggling to survive. FarmAid reported in 2017 this alarming fact, "Since 2013, America’s farmers and ranchers have weathered a 45 percent drop in net farm income, the largest three-year drop since the start of the Great Depression." Yes, that Great Depression.
When family farmers go bankrupt, entire rural communities are affected negatively. That hurts all of us.
Farmers Don't Make Much Money
It's hard to get rich growing food for us to eat. In fact, many ranchers in California work two jobs to survive, reports the UC Cooperative Extension.
When you purchase vegetables in a traditional grocery store, the farmer receives about 20 cents on the dollar, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But purchase your food directly from local growers, and farmers may earn as much as 90 cents, according to Eat Local Challenge.
Although every grower's situation is different, it's still a good idea to buy locally and directly as much as you can from farmers, ranchers and family butchers. They need the money, and you need their fresh food.
Farm Fresh is Healthier and Taste Better
Most fruit and vegetables travel about 1,500 miles to reach your grocery store, says the Natural Resources Defense Council. That means lots of gas and other natural resources are wasted in the process. Not only that, eating more seasonally and locally is healthier.
"The longer fruit and veggies spend on a truck or in storage before being delivered to you, the greater the loss of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients," reminds Rodale Institute. Leaving that tomato longer on the vine just tastes better too.
Ask any gardener about the taste difference between tomatoes, salad greens and other veggies picked fresh from the garden. There's no comparison to the stores. Eat as fresh, seasonal and local as possible for the healthiest and most delicious foods.