The safety of what we eat is the number one concern among those who worry about factory-produced food. In order to produce as much product as possible, factory animals are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. Likewise, our fruits and vegetables are genetically modified and sprayed with insecticides. These chemicals have detrimental effects on our health and are ruining our food for no reason other than corporate profit. The only way to avoid our exposure to these things is to either buy organic food or buy it locally. Organic foods are the most rapidly growing segment of our food industry, doubling in growth every few years (Ikerd).
Unfortunately, Organic food from supermarkets is just another big business which contributes to eliminating earth resources and often misleads consumers with its claims. If more people began eating locally, we would decrease the resources we use for transportation and completely eliminate our uncertainty about where our food comes from and what’s in it. Another reason to support local farms is that it would stimulate local economies and increase our personal responsibility in the world. Instead of shipping our jobs off to corporate farms, we could create jobs in our own ackyard. Not only would we be able to create jobs, but overall sustainability in our local communities. Today, farmers only get about 20% of the money for their products because the rest is spent on transportation and packaging (Muren). If we ate locally, farmers would begin to earn the true value of their products and eliminate the need for a middle man. John Ikerd, professor of Agriculture at the University of Missouri, argues that people who buy their food from local farms are also more likely to shop locally for other items, further stimulating local economy.
Like all changes, the industrialization of our food came about one farmer at a time. In the same way, the road to change begins with each individual consumer (Ikerd). If Americans begin purchasing their fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products from local farms, our country can move toward better overall health, economic sustainability, and decrease our contribution to the destruction of the planet. If we want to begin solving the biggest problems in our society, a good way to start would be to focus on and perfect how we obtain of one of our most basic needs, food.