Even though shopping locally cuts out a big middleman, The National Agricultural Law Center recognizes that it’s not always cheaper. In most cases, the food from your local, small-scale producers will cost the same if not more than those that were grown commercially. But, that’s not always because they’re capitalizing on the trendiness of their “local” label. More often than not, local food systems are utilizing special methods of food production like organic or regenerative agriculture. Foods that are grown through farming methods like these inevitably cost more because of the associated production costs — but it’s not for nothing.
Organic and regenerative agriculture are just a couple of examples of the sustainable farming practices that local food systems utilize. Through them, a report from the Rodale Institute shows that the small-scale producers in your area are maintaining the biodiversity, protecting the natural pollinators, and promoting clean air, water, and soil in your local area — all things that will preserve the farmland and ensure food security in your community for generations to come. And, should you ever find yourself questioning whether or not shopping local is worth the price, just look at the state of Hawaii’s agriculture and you’ll be convinced.