Over the last few of years, there has been a significant amount of emphasis placed on supporting our local businesses, especially through the pandemic where the restrictions were felt across almost every industry in our economy. Buying locally grown produce has been shown to provide health benefits to individuals and employment opportunities. Buying local helps breed community and fosters a feeling of being able to make a difference, rather than just be a consumer trapped in the wheels of global capitalism.
But why does buying locally grown food over cheaper imported produce of such benefit to local health, wealth and happiness? At getzz we are a great advocate of #supportlocal, so we looked at the many reasons why both supporting local producers and supporting businesses who buy from local producers is such a great idea for everyone in the community.
What is Locally Grown Food?
It’s exactly what you think it is! Locally grown food is just food that was grown within the geographical area. Here you could probably consider anything that was grown in the Highlands as a ‘local product’ as transportation to Inverness would take only a few hours, meaning its as fresh in the shop or when used by the restaurant as it was on the farm.
In the Highlands, we are blessed with fertile soil and a climate that fruit and veg love, so there are lots of local food producers in the area. Dairy and livestock farming is also popular up here due to the wide-open spaces and our penchant for meat and animal products. But local produce doesn’t just involve the ‘meat and potatoes’ of your meal. Things like locally produced honey, ice cream, jams and all sorts are available to be bought directly from local producers.
The Health Benefits of Local Food
The state of our health has come starkly into view since the pandemic began in 2020. Your body can only function well if the food that fuels it is of a good standard. Locally grown food is the best fuel for our bodies with lower amounts of additives, pesticides and fancy chemicals that are designed more to increase its profitability rather than its nutritional value.
Locally grown food provides loads of great health benefits:
- Pests are the bane of a farmer’s life, but local producers tend to use organic and natural pest repellents rather than the chemical-based mass spray techniques employed by the large-scale producers. The fewer chemicals added to your grub the better!
- Locally grown food doesn’t require being packed up and shipped off across the seven seas to its consumer with long trips out of the equation the preservatives used by industrial producers to give food a longer shelf life are not needed, making sure the food you eat is a fresh as the Highland rain we are all so familiar with!
- Locally grown grub can help improve nutrition. The lack of added chemical and the introduction of a diverse range of seasonal food can help deliver a diet that is high in nutrients when compared to eating prepacked industrially produced food from the other side of the world.
- The more local you eat, the less chance there is of contamination. These days more than ever we are very aware of the risks that contamination can have on our health and this also goes for our food. Locally produced food has had fewer steps in its growing, harvesting and production than food that has been grown in one country, processed in another, packaged in a third, only to eventually end up on your plate after being in the hands of who-knows how many people!
The Economic Benefits of Buying Local
Our local economy runs off the back of local businesses. We buy all sorts from local businesses, from tartans to takeaways, and if those businesses buy their materials and ingredients from local businesses and producers, then the economic benefits are felt twice as much!
- Buying locally keeps the money spent in our local economy. Instead of supporting big businesses and brands who have head offices in the Bahamas, if you choose to shop local you keep the money in the community, helping to invest in the people around you, from owners to the workers to the farmers. The money you spend also allows the local producers to keep more of the profit as their overheads aren’t made up by excessive distribution and transport costs like the big brands. The money goes to them to directly invest in their business or to spend in the local community bringing opportunity and invest Inverness and the Highlands.
- Spending money locally helps create local jobs. Buy from a local restaurant that buys from a local producer and that money will go to help grow both businesses. The money will support their current employee as well as encourage growth and future jobs in the business.
- Buying local can help keep your taxes low. Farming and food production is not reliant on socially provided services provided by local government, but they are taxed by the government and contribute to things like schools and the NHS and other social services. Local producers are also far more likely to pay their taxes compared to the larger bigger brands that move their head offices and money offshore to avoid paying their taxes. That means your money ends up in a bank account in the Caribbean to be filtered into accounts that couldn’t be further away from your community. Where’s the investment there?
The Environment Benefits of Buying Local
- Buying locally reduces your carbon footprint. If you buy produce from somewhere that is 1000s of miles away, it must be transported here by land, sea and/or air. All these methods of transport are likely to be powered by fossil fuel and thus contributes to emissions in the atmosphere. Buy local and the food has only come from just up the road, reducing the ‘food miles’ used to get your dinner on your plate!
- Buying locally and supporting local Highland producers promotes accountability in the food chain. The more local you can buy, the easier it is to track the chain from farm to plate. This level of scrutiny promotes good agricultural practices and local farmers are also more likely to be more mindful of their environmental impact and take care of the land and its surroundings and not risk our local ecosystem in the name of profitability like some of the more large-scale industrialised producers.
How Can I Support Local?
Choosing to purchase locally grown food is a really good way to support our local economy. You can buy directly from producers at evets like Inverness Farmers Market, or because of the pandemic, many growers and makers have set up websites to connect directly with us consumers and have a look online for places like The Black Isle Dairy, Achpopuli Farm or Highland Fine Cheeses who supply really great local fare. Supporting local businesses that use local produce is another great way to support our local economy too. At getzz, we are passionate about #supportlocal and you can find that many of our food partners like Café 1 and Lorimers Family Restaurant take pride in sourcing local ingredients for many of their dishes, as do many of our food partners.
At getzz, every penny you spend on the app goes to these businesses, the workers and their suppliers. We at getzz charge a fraction of the fee big delivery apps like Just Eat Inverness and Deliveroo Inverness to our local food partners. The delivery fee also goes directly to the driver which all goes to make sure your money gets reinvested in our local community. Getzz is the Inverness delivery app made in Inverness, for Inverness.
So, whenever you can, shop local and it’ll help improve our community, improve your health and help protect our beautiful environment.
Download getzz app now to see what‘s on the local menu today!