Whether at a farmers’ market, grocery store or restaurant, the term “local” can have many different meanings depending on the consumer. One individual might consider local to be within 50 miles of their home, while another might think of local production on a regional level. Local production may not be as easy to define, but we can still understand where and how our food is grown.
Take wheat, for example. In the U.S., 42 out of 50 states grow wheat and approximately 50 percent of that wheat remains stateside for use in food products. Not to mention, U.S. wheat farmers produce all 6 classes of wheat across the country. We are the only country that can offer all types of wheat to customers at home and abroad.
Think about other types of food grown in the United States. Some ag commodities can only be grown in certain areas of the country based on climate, soil and other natural resources. Though you may not live near California where nearly half of the nation’s fruit, vegetables and nuts are grown, as a consumer you can still access these products – possibly even from your own grocery store shelf. Depending on the season or commodity, the food on your grocery store shelf may have to travel a little further. Examples include fresh raspberries or bananas.
Countries that are not as agriculturally diverse may wind up importing a lot of their food products. Exported goods may also be more economically efficient for a company to use in their product. Here’s an example of a locally produced food product in Britain made with globally-sourced ingredients: http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/food/food-global.html?dm_i=I1,342ZN,67OYRW,B5UTE,1
The United States is fortunate to be one of the most agriculturally productive countries. Safe, abundant and affordable are not just buzzwords; it is a fact that U.S. farmers produce some of the highest quality products in the world in the most efficient means possible to keep food costs and environmental burden low. We are proud that U.S. wheat is known worldwide for its consistent high quality.
Consumers should take comfort in knowing that America’s farmers are working hard to produce a safe food product that can be enjoyed by your family and theirs. In the globalized society that we live in, it is great to act local – supporting America’s farmers and farm families.