Buying local food benefits local farmers, local communities, the environment, and YOU!
9 Reasons to Buy Local
1. Buying local builds a strong community.
If you are familiar with local food campaigns, you know that buying local means fresh food for you and less environmental impact. We are all about that too (read more about those further down this list), but at TRACTOR we are also very community-focused.
TRACTOR started as a project dedicated to helping farmers and improving the local economy. By buying local, you strengthen our community assets—our strong agricultural heritage, talented farmers, and environmental resources.
2. Buying local strengthens our local economy.
Buying from small local farmers helps the local economy. Small farms are more likely than large farms to purchase farm inputs from local stores (meaning more money staying in the community). Growing and processing food locally, also, preserves and creates local jobs. It is estimated that spending money locally provides an additional economic benefit of 1 ½ – 3 times the amount spent. For example, $36.5 million in local spending would add an estimated $55 million to $109 million to the local economy.
By sourcing our own supplies locally, 90% of our funds at TRACTOR are reinvested in our local economy.
3. Buying local helps farmers make a living.
It’s not easy to make a living as a farmer. Today, farmers receive only 16 cents of every dollar spent on food, which about half of what they made in 1980. Small farmers have a particularly difficult time, as they must compete with farms hundreds or thousands of times larger than their farms. Buying locally and buying from TRACTOR, you are helping small farmers in our community make a farming a financially viable profession.
4. Buying local preserves our small farm heritage.
Yancey, Mitchell, and the surrounding counties have a long history family farming. However, due to the crash of the tobacco industry and the increasing competition from mega-farms, the counties have lost a huge number of farms—219 farms between 2002 and 2007 alone. Buying local helps reverse this trend and preserve our agricultural heritage.
5. Buying local fosters a more independent and resilient community.
Local food systems make communities more self-sufficient and less dependent upon far off resources. By supporting local farmers, we help ensure that we can continue to get food right here in our community rather than relying on produce shipped from different corners of the country.
Supporting a variety of small local farms also builds community resilience. With smaller farmers growing a variety of crops, the area food supply is better insulated from devastating blights or diseases. Diverse crop production ensures a greater possible produce offerings throughout the season.
6. Buying local provides tastier, more nutritious food.
Less time to farm to table means healthier, tastier food. In the United States, many fruits and veggies may be in transit for up to five days before reaching a distribution center. Sometimes they’re picked before they’re ripe (when nutrients have not fully developed) and ripened later artificially to prevent damage during transportation. TRACTOR’s fruits and veggies are picked at the right time and spend less time traveling, meaning better tasting and more nutritious produce for you and your family.
7. Buying local means less energy use and less air pollution from transportation.
In the United States, food travels an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate. Shortening this distance decreases the amount of pollutants and carbon emissions from transportation. Reducing carbon emissions mean less severe climate change, and less pollution in both your air and water makes for a healthier community in which to live.
Because transporting food is dependent upon fuel, food prices change with fluctuations in oil prices. This correlation creates additional factors in food price changes, which can make it extra difficult to afford food when times are rough.
8. Buying local promotes healthy ecosystems.
Many small farmers grow a variety of crops on their farms, and many small farms in an area mean even more variety in the region. More crop diversity provides better habitat for the animals that keep our crops thriving including bees needed for pollination and beneficial insects that eat crop pests.
9. Buying local is easy to do!
We’re trying to make buying local as easy as possible. To purchase from TRACTOR’s farmers, look for our red sticker on produce at Ingles, Lowe’s Foods, and SAVMOR,
Have M7 Event Solutions (Asheville) cater your next event, or visit Creekside Bakery and Café (Burnsville), Garden Deli (Burnsville), Snap Dragon (Burnsville), Mountain Air Country Club (Burnsville), Knife and Fork (Spruce Pine), The Pizza Shop & Dry County Brewing Co. (Spruce Pine), Stuart’s on the Green (Spruce Pine), HomeGrown (Asheville), for a meal out.
Other sources of local food:
There are also a number of farmer’s markets in the area. The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program has a local food guide that is searchable by county. You can filter it by farmer’s market to find the one(s) nearest you! (Click here to check it out!)
The closest market to TRACTOR is right here in Burnsville! Burnsville also hosts the Yancey County Farmer’s market every Saturday from 8:30-12:30. It’s located at the corner of South Main St. and West Blvd. just a half block from the town square. For more information, check out their website here.