Edibles Around the World

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Why buy Local

1. Biodiversity.  In case you have never taken a biology course in school, biodiversity is good.  It keeps environments healthy and robust. the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report examining the vulnerability of humans and natural systems to climate change. The report highlighted a lack of resilience in the global food system, due to an extensive decline in food diversity. 

2. Good for your local economy. It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child, it takes a thriving village, and if you buy local, you can ensure that everyone is contributing to an economically stable environment to raise children. “Community leaders across the country are recognizing the potential for “local food” as a vibrant economic driver. What does this mean for southern Minnesota? With the right support, it could mean more profitable family farms, robust value-added food businesses, and increased tax bases for small towns, cities, and counties.” says Jan Joannides, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture University of Minnesota, in her report on local food systems.

3. Know your farmer. How the crops and animals are raised is important to the health of your community. From improperly farmed salmon to pig farmers spraying waste, it is important that you know what is going on in your community as it will enable  you to make healthier decisions for you, your family and your community.

4. Independence: “Give a man a fish, he eats today, but teach him to fish, and he eats the rest of his life” has great value. What is better? Modifying our crops and animals to feed the world rice/wheat/soy/corn/pigs/chickens/cattle, or let people enjoy their indigenous foods that require minimal resources in comparison. Granted some places are not prime for growing, and global warming has made food and water more scarce in some regions, but is massive agriculture with limited selection and much waste the best answer? Big agriculture doesn’t need to feed the world as they claim. People aren’t starving because of lack of food; poverty is the killer. So give them access to local land and crops. Native people around the world will find a way to feed themselves. Yes, this diminishes profits, but a well fed child seems a bit more important than record profits for CEOs and shareholders. The end result makes communities stronger, independent and more appreciative of their environment.

cocoa-452911_640Not sure what native plants are edible in your area? Try visiting your local botanical garden, farmer’s market or attending a food festival in your area. Most will have a section displaying the your fabulous native foods. Even places like the arid Southwest have an abundance of food sources. The Sonoran desert has tasty edible plants from prickly pear cactus to the sweet flour from the Mesquite tree. There are many plants that can offer you a sustainable and healthy option, so take a look around your area and see what wonderful local farmers are doing.

 

Sources: Local HarvestLocal Food Systems: Selected Resources, Exotic Fruits & Vegetables