The questions facing humanity and the millions of other species we share the Earth with are many. The monks are working on a Hindu Manifesto on Global Warming for the upcoming Parliament of the Worlds' Religions in Australia, which Bodhinatha will attend and give a Keynote talk. We are also working locally with a group called the Kauai Agricultural Initiative, who are working to strengthen agriculture on our island. They have sent us ten reasons to eat locally, which we want to share today. Of course, the monks do eat locally, if you call having the garden, the fruit orchards and the cows 1,000 feet away local. We encourage everyone to do what they can to follow this simple but powerful principle. Remember, for millions of years every person on the planet was a localvore!
10 Reasons to Eat Local Food
1. Eating local means more for the local economy. According to a study
by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally
generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses
are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.
2. Locally grown produce is fresher. While produce that is purchased in
the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for
days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer's market
has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. This freshness
not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which
declines with time.
3. Local food just plain tastes better. Ever tried a tomato that was picked
within 24 hours? 'Nuff said.
4. Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen. Because the
produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be
"rugged" or to stand up to the rigors of shipping. This means that you are
going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them,
figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using
traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last
possible minute on the vine.
5. Eating local is better for air quality and pollution than eating organic.
In a March 2005 study by the journal Food Policy, it was found that the
miles that organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental
damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic.
6. Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with
the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the
most abundant, and the least expensive.
7. Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story. Whether it's
the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local
bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of
enjoying a meal.
8. Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism. Food with less distance to
travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination.
9. Local food translates to more variety. When a farmer is producing food
that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does
not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of
various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large
supermarket. Supermarkets are interested in selling "Name brand" fruit:
Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes. Local
producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little
Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.
10. Supporting local providers supports responsible land development.
When you buy local, you give those with local open space -- farms and
pastures -- an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.