Why Local

By Helen Cordes

Introducing a new feature in Edible Austin reporting on relevant facts and figures to help inform our conversations on why supporting local, sustainably raised food has value. This first look at why local was compiled by Helen Cordes. We welcome ongoing submissions by our readers for this page, with proper attribution. 



Conventional produce in the U.S. travels over 1,500 miles from farm to fridge.

Hill, Holly. 2008. Food miles: Background and marketing. National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service



Many fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides and herbicides contain twice the amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants than their sprayed peers.
Halweil, Brian. September 2007. Still no free lunch: Nutrient levels in U.S. food supply eroded by pursuit of high yields. The Organic Center



Producing one ton of fertilizer requires as much as 33,000 cubic feet of natural gas.
The global food chain accounts for roughly one third of global warming.
Lappé, Anna. 2010. Diet for a Hot Planet. New York: Bloomsbury USA



With local, direct sales, farmers keep 100% of food sales. With conventional sales, only 9 cents of every food dollar goes to the farmer, with the rest funneled to suppliers, processors, middlemen and marketers.
Gorelick, Steven, and Norberg-Hodge, Helena. June 2002. Bringing the food economy home. International Society for Ecology and Culture

Each dollar spent on local food can generate $1.50 to $3 for the community.
If we bought 15% of our food locally, we’d ring up 2/3 the total agriculture
farmers receive.
DeWeerdt, Sarah. July/August 2009. Local food: The economics. World Watch



$1.25 vs. $1.39: locally grown price per pound vs. comparable non-local supermarket veggies.
Leopold Center study compares local, non-local food prices. 2009. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture