The previous few years have witnessed the Local Nutrition Movement Reform, also regarded as the Locavore Movement, gain reputation across exclusive states in the United States of America. This movement is a wonderful booster to the American economy as it brings into location an excellent way that helps in growing the general fitness of the America citizens and helps the global ecology. The Local Food Movement does this with the aid of only making some easy-to-follow modifications in the way the American citizens eat. This entails the consumption of healthful foods produced regionally as opposed to the growing trend of consuming processed foods from overseas cuisines. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there is an uptrend in lifestyle diseases caused by unhealthy eating habits. The lifestyle disease considered acute is obesity, where CDC reports that approximately three quarters of Americans face the risk of being obese or overweight in five years’ time. To help mitigate such adverse consequences to the health of the population, programs such as the Local Food Movement have come in handy. However, despite the numerous benefits that accompany this movement, there are still critics who claim that this local food is far more costly than the factory-farmed foods. The truth of the matter is that the local foods are safer and more nutritious than the factory foods. Furthermore, the prices in which locals access food at any existing market being operated by the local farmer and the costs of individuals practicing home gardening are way cheaper alternatives than purchasing the food from a chain grocer. For these reasons, it will be right to claim that the Local Food Movement facilitates the development of better, resilient, and independent food networks, promotes the much-needed improvement in the local economies, and has a solid impact on the environment, health, and society as a whole; hence being a subject worth discussing. The paper will analyze the Local Food Movement program in detail to confirm that its benefits outweigh the criticisms collected.
Origin of the Local Food Movement
The Local Food Movement program was initiated at a time when Richard Nixon, then president, decided to reduce food prices. The increase in prices was attributable to the imposition of federal dollars on farmers. However, he redirected such costs to a selected few commodity crops; hence, reducing the food prices making them affordable for both farmers to produce and consumers to acquire. Such a move was responsible for the establishment of the Local Food Movement (Evans & Christiana, 134). This action resulted in drastic reduction in the food prices across the country hence tremendously affecting the farmers. As a result, this policy, which favored the large industrial operations, mainly planted sore and corn as the main crops completely shunned the small-scale farmers who were encouraging the production and sale of the local organic produce.
An Easy Start on Local Foods
The spread of the Local Food Movement across the entire country has resulted in people getting connected with the local farmers and putting into considerations the quality of food that they consume and its impact on their health as time passes. It is important to note that the movement sought to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers. It was evident that consumers preferred processed foods from foreign cuisines since such producers made the foods easily accessible through fast food joints. In addition, there was the perception that healthy foods could only be accessed in the countryside. As such, the processed foods capitalized on the gap; hence, their prevalence in the market. The Local Food Movement is gaining prevalence across the market, with more citizens appreciating the value of farm fresh foods. The American citizens now understand the importance of investing in the local foods and the areas that these foods come from by making more efforts to support this sector other than just making a small purchase of such foods (Dunning, et al., 665). People now know that investing in the local foods today means investing in the physical health of an individual, the community and the entire planet in general. Some of the steps taken to help in the realization of this goal include bridging the existing gap between the local farmers growing the local foods and the consumers who are the residents through actions such as hosting Summer Farmers Market Summits and Youth Climate Summits. These conferences aim at educating both the farmers and the youths on the importance of local foods (Nonini, 271).
A stable market for the local produce is being created through the establishment of farm-to-cafeteria programs in the various government facilities such as police stations, schools, and hospitals. The United States government has further encouraged the existing businesses and restaurants across the country to source their foods from the farms that are surrounding them so as to help the Local Food Movement goals be completely realized (Chabert-Rios & Deale, 78). The recent Food Action Plan policy that was enacted in the year 2012 has substantially played a significant role in supporting the presence of a healthy food system that aims at strengthening the local economy, reducing food wastage and ensuring availability of healthy food for all.
Benefits of Buying Local Foods
Numerous benefits are realized through the consumers purchasing the local foods. For instance, economically, the acquisition of food locally by the users encourages the retention of the money spent in buying such commodities within the community contributing to its growth. The fact that the local food farmers are small-scale businessmen makes them have the chance of creating more jobs by requiring labor that does not call for extreme qualifications as it is the case in the large scale businesses (Huey, 129). The second benefit realized through the local foods is environmental preservation whereby consumption of these products results in a reduction of air pollution from the emission of gases through fossil fuel consumption by the vehicles that are used to transport these goods from the farmlands to where the consumers are.
Mental and physical improvement is another essential benefit that is attributed to the local foods. Consumption of the local foods encourages the improvement of the nutrition among the Americans, prevention of obesity, reduction of the possibility of people suffering from the risk of diet-related chronic ailment and increase the likelihood of residents making food choices that are friendly and healthier for them (Nelson, et al., 4). Consumption of the local foods contributes to an increase in social relations between the farmers and the residents. The consumers become in a better position to ask questions relating to issues such as chemicals used to treat the plants while growing, the growth hormones used animal treatment and any other matter that they might be having related to how the food was produced. Such social relations help in promoting product loyalty of the consumers.
Shortcomings of the Local Foods
Despite the numerous benefits that are realized through people consuming the local foods, there still exist critics who argue that the local food movement brings more harm than good. For instance, there have been allegations that locally grown foods end up releasing more greenhouse gases as compared to those that are processed in the factory farms hence becoming detrimental to the environment (Nelson & Mirella, 15). Again, some latter critics question the economic feasibility of the locavores by claiming that they are most likely to affect the efficiency of production in the country negatively and insist that the subsistence farming has numerous food safety inefficiencies that it brings along with it. Other people consider the imported foods to be cheaper than the local foods, which are highly facilitated by globalization and technological advancements, which make it easier to obtain these foods from foreign countries.
Through the National Organic Program that has been put into place by the United States Department of Agriculture, the local food movement is likely to be more successful across the country with the farmers receiving increased support from the government at all its levels. Moreover, with the continued support from the customers and presence of the Community-Supported Agriculture Programs, the future of the local foods seems to be brighter than ever before. Today, the presence of the Local Food Movement can be felt in the restaurants and farmers market whereby it is common to find customers eating or shopping for the local foods, which are considered fresher, more nutritious, and healthy compared to those that have to travel miles before they reach their intended consumers. As such, it is evident that the Local Food Movement facilitates the development of better, resilient, and independent food networks, promotes the much-needed improvement in the local economies, and has a solid impact on the environment, health and society as a whole.
Chabert-Rios, J. De, and C. S. Deale. “Taking the Local Food Movement One Step Further: An Exploratory Case Study of Hyper-Local Restaurants.” Tourism and Hospitality Research, 2016, doi:10.1177/1467358416666137.
Dunning, Rebecca, et al. “The Local Food Movement, Public-Private Partnerships, and Food System Resiliency.” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 5, no. 4, Dec. 2015, pp. 661–670., doi:10.1007/s13412-015-0295-z.
Evans, Terri, and Christiana Miewald. “Assessing the Pocket Market Model for Growing the Local Food Movement: A Case Study of Metropolitan Vancouver.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2010, pp. 129–144., doi:10.5304/jafscd.2010.012.011.
Huey, Tina Andersen. “Thinking Globally, Eating Locally: Website Linking and the Performance of Solidarity in Global and Local Food Movements.” Social Movement Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, 2005, pp. 123–137., doi:10.1080/14742830500191469.
Nelson, Connie, et al. “Future Research Approaches To Encourage Small-Scale Fisheries in the Local Food Movement.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, May 2013, pp. 1–5., doi:10.5304/jafscd.2013.034.020.
Nelson, Connie, and Mirella Stroink. “Accessibility and Viability: A Complex Adaptive Systems Approach to a Wicked Problem for the Local Food Movement.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2014, pp. 1–16., doi:10.5304/jafscd.2014.044.016.
Nonini, Donald M. “The Local-Food Movement and the Anthropology of Global Systems.” American Ethnologist, vol. 40, no. 2, 2013, pp. 267–275., doi:10.1111/amet.12019.