The obvious difference between national and local means of food production refers to geographic reach. A 2008 survey discovered that half consumers surveyed described “local” as “made or produced within one hundred miles,” and an additional thirty-seven percent described “local” as “made or produced in my state” ("Local & Regional Food Systems"). Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, authors of The 100-Mile Diet, wrote that they chose this boundary for their research in eating locally because a one hundred mile radius is sufficiently large to reach beyond a large city and confined enough to feel justly local (DeWeerdt). Although no universally agreed-upon definition for the topographical element exists, “local food” tends to describe food produced near the consumer, yet definitions related to geographic distance between production and sales vary by regions, companies, consumers, and local food markets (Martinez).
For national corporations, food is transported over vastly greater distances, but the production and processing of food on local farms, on the other hand, is in the hands of only a small number of people. In fact, a national company’s food is estimated to typically travel between 1,500 miles and 3,000 miles before reaching its destination in a conventional grocery store or retail establishment. By contrast, locally so...
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...ized to aid farmers, help consumers access nutritious foods, and support rural community growth. Federal, State, and local government programs increasingly support local food systems (Martinez).
Today’s consumers are evidently more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from (Tropp). In light of drastic contrasts presented between national and local food production, the admonition to eat local seems like common sense (DeWeerdt). “More locally grown foods” is the second most desired improvement among surveyed grocery shoppers at 32.1 percent, just under “price and cost savings.” Grocery shoppers should “buy into the local food movement” because it helps local economies, delivers a better and broader assortment of products, provides healthier alternatives, improves the carbon footprint, and increases natural or organic production (Tropp).
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