Local food systems foster accessible, sustainable, cost-effective, and healthy dietary options for communities. So, why do we still transport our food across countries and continents? The main reason is that most of the planet still relies on large livestock farms to cultivate their food. And even where smaller local farms exist, an animal-based diet requires more resources like land, animal feed, water, and hard manual labour to produce food.
The solution that offers the easiest way to transition to local food systems is to switch to a vegan diet. Not only is this option more sustainable, it also offers an array of benefits to create a thriving healthy society.
Creating a knowledgeable community
When we are connected to our food, we automatically become interested and aware of its production process. Unlike, animal products, a plant-based diet makes it easy to learn about proper nutrition, gardening, and horticulture practices.
We also discover the principles behind the companies making our food. So, cruel or unsanitary procedures do not occur when the entire community is involved with monitoring the quality of our food.
Using locally-sourced ingredients
Growing our own food means sourcing seeds and resources from the local environment. We cannot grow certain foods in unstable climates, so learning and adapting to native crops becomes essential. Luckily, there are thousands of fruits and vegetables to choose from, so our pallets never get bored. Plus, using crops that are only available locally ensures their quality while limiting transportation costs.
Although, with new technology such as evolved greenhouses, seeds from the summer harvest can now be grown indoors using climate controls and hydroponic systems. This means that many plants can survive through the winter season without outsourcing to other states or countries.
Encouraging home gardens
Once we become acquainted with our locally-sourced food, we can start our own gardens. This is a much more sustainable alternative than having grass-covered lawns that only soak up water without providing any viable crop in return. And unlike raising livestock, harvesting our own vegetables and fruits is economically reasonable for any household.
When we grow our own food nothing goes to waste because we see the money and hard work put into our garden. We can also choose exactly what we want to grow, giving us options that may not be available at the grocery store. Plus, by going organic, we will have fresh, cheap, and chemical-free produce right at our fingertips.
Reducing the amount of space
One of the best reasons that veganism supports local food systems is that space is never an obstacle. From vertical farming to indoor hanging plants, there are no limits to how and where we can grow our own food.
Large pastures for raising and feeding animals, as well as the facilities used to butcher them, limit who can produce their own meat and dairy and where. When all demographics, from city dwellers to rural suburbanites, can use their own living area as a ‘farm’ or find one nearby, then the need for large agriculture land becomes obsolete. This shows that the only practical option for reducing land usage while providing local food to everyone is to eat a plant-based cuisine.
Sparking respect for our food and our bodies
Coming full circle, after we learn and grow as a community that appreciates the value of our own food, we begin to see the big picture. Food is our source of life; it must be treated with respect. A viable source for local food and a vegan diet go together in this mindset. Firstly, we need to know where our food comes from, and secondly, we need to know how it is produced. Once we see that our food is being treated with disrespect when its origins are a slaughterhouse, then we understand the atrocities that lead it to our plate.
Finally, we make the connection between food and health. Food originally was not used as a source of pleasure, but rather to replenish our bodies. Therefore, food that is mistreated and altered by chemicals affects our bodies as well. Once we see the link between disease and the food we choose to eat, then eating ethical local food will be the standard of reason.
By Craig Scott of Green Growing