Local Food Local Food Local Food

Local Food

You’ve heard the hype about local food, but what is it all about? Let’s start with a definition of the term. Local food refers to the geographical closeness between farmer and consumer. The closer the distance between the two, the more “local” the product may be considered. If it seems vague, you would be right. There is no set definition of how far away food can be grown or produced for it to earn the label of “locally-grown”.

Locally produced food has recently been popularized for two main reasons: (1) its decreased impact on the environment and (2) its increased freshness of the product. Local farms are much smaller than large corporate farms, thus they can operate more efficiently. Smaller plots of land mean fewer pesticides and herbicides are being applied, decreasing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and harmful chemicals that ends up in the soil and the water system. Local meat and produce also have fewer miles to travel to get to the consumer, reducing the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere and gasoline used for transportation. And, with fewer miles to travel, product freshness isn’t such an issue. The need for packaging is lessened or altogether unnecessary.

There are a variety of ways to become involved in the local food movement. Check out local restaurants that buy their produce and/or meats from local farms, join one of the several community-supported agriculture groups (also known as CSAs), support local farmer’s markets by shopping from them weekly, volunteer at a community garden near you, or start your own garden!

Local Sources:

Lafayette Farmers Market

West Lafayette Farmers Market

Purdue Farmers Market

Food Finders Food Bank

The Veggie Drop

Purdue Student Farm


Community Supported Agriculture

Eat Wild

Seed Library Network