Climate Care – Buying Local Foods Helps the Environment

UCS blog-union of concerned scientists

It would probably surprise you that changing a decision about where you buy your food can help the environment, our health, and local jobs. In this Climate Care series, there are ways to reduce global warming. I am examining ways to help do my part to change my overuse of our earth’s resources and share simple ways to do better and bring about a balance.

FarmScape Ecology Program

Did you know that the fruits and vegetables we Americans buy travels thousands of miles before it reaches grocery stores? “An apple can travel as far as New Zealand to California, but what is so strange is that you can purchase the same apple near San Francisco, California.” (CUESA). Why is this? The belief is that long-distance food trade (food miles) allows everyone to buy at the lowest cost. Unfortunately, farming communities suffer as a result of freer agricultural goods trade. “The New Farm Bill favors factory farms, giant supermarkets, and long-distance trade, and subsidized fossil fuels. “(Barrett)

ECO Watch

What does the long-distance trade do for our atmosphere? Transporting produce 1,555 miles vs. 77 miles use fossil fuels that create CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases that heat our climates temperatures. If we had no other option but to get food from places far away, that would be understandable, but we have local farms. Using Farmers Markets, which use local farms produce, would eliminate the waste of long-distance food traveling.


Long-distance food requires “produce” to be picked green before ripe and then artificially ripened before it reaches the stores. Many of the natural nutrients will never develop in that un-natural process. Genetically modifying fruits and vegetables are like preserving a peach without packaging; it’s not much different than a can of processed peaches. Using Farmers Markets that work with local farmers eliminates chemically ripened produce. It’s a healthier option for people to eat better quality produce and require less fossil fuel consumption.

As I shared with you in my previous blog about Recycling Symbols, I shared what I had observed while living in Germany. The Germans buy almost everything from their local community. Produce is sold in an open-air kiosk along the street and at the farmers market, so the food is fresh, chemical-free, and they support their local farmers. Since most of their packaging is biodegradable, people shop for groceries daily anyway.

Now I support and shop at local farmer markets, and I love it. The fruits and vegetables taste amazing, and the prices are not that much different than the grocery store. While shopping, I met with KB, a Farmers Market Manager here in Los Angeles. I want to share with you his interview about the process of managing the local farmers’ markets and the benefit it brings to the community.

Interview with KB a Farmers Market Manger

I hope this blog has given you the information needed to consider changing your current shopping routine and supporting local farms by shopping at your local farmers’ markets (Huff Post). If you don’t know where to find one, look online for the local farmers market near you. Remember, this is another way to reduce greenhouse gases, save jobs, and eat healthy while caring for the climate.


Barrett, Mike. (December 17, 2013) How far does your food travel? 4 reasons to choose local. Natural Society. Retrieved, November 12, 2020

How far does your food travel to get to your plate?CUESA cultivating a healthy food system. Retrieved November 13,2020

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