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Dear Suzanne Column: Cows Don’t Go To School, Tomatoes Don’t Dial 911

Dear Suzanne,

Why should I buy local?  Is it really good for our environment?


Doubting Thomasina  


Dear Doubting Thomasina,

Here are the next 6 reasons by Vern Grubinger, vegetable and berry specialist, from the University of Vermont Extension on why buying local is good for you, your environment and your economy. 

5.)  Local food supports local families.  The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on the land.  Lexington has a local farmers market on every Thursday 10-6 at the Flight Deck contact is Mandy at 206-6480.

And another one on Saturday mornings 9-12 starting in June 7 to September 27 on 205 East Main St. Lexington Square Park in front of the new court house.  Contact is, Jennifer at 356-8238 and the web site:  www.lexsc.com  If you can’t get to the two local markets Marshall at Buff’s Produce located on 378 diagonally across from Health Directions carries Farmers Mkt produce right here in town you can stop by on your way home from work most days.  

6.)  Local food builds community.  When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower.  Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food.  In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.  Sease Farms on #1 has a U-pick strawberry farm that you can take children to on summer break and experience a farm.  They also supply already picked there and at a couple of their open air markets.

7.)  Local food preserves open space.  When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they’re less likely to sell farmland for development.  When you buy locally grown food, you’re doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape.  That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.  Four Oaks Farms has local diverse products and is locally and family owned in Lexington since 1929.  They carry a local cheese that is unique to our area, where most cheeses come from Wisconsin.  And they carry local nuts as well as produce.

8.)  Local food keeps taxes down.  According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services.  Cows don’t go to school, tomatoes don’t dial 911.  Columbia Meats in West Columbia carries chickens that are from Amick’s Farms in Batesburg. 

9.)  Local food benefits the environment and wildlife.  Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services:  they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.  The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.  Rhoten’s Country Store located on Main Street in Lexington processes sausage from pigs out of North Carolina.  Locally and family owned since 1945.

10.)  Local food is an investment in the future.  By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow.  That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.”  Creating your own veggie garden is a close to the ground as you can get.  Try out planting one product – the one that is your favorite!  See how it goes and if you like it maybe next season you’ll plant another one.

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