Is it better to buy local food or imported food?

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      Ayala’s article, ‘the Great Food Fight; Local vs. Global,’ (2013) is part of today’s great debate about going local or buying global foods. She gave both sides of the coin and why each is considered while generalizing the arguments and countering them. For example, despite the term “local” being ambiguous, improving economies is among the topmost advantages.

      Locavores are people who have resorted to buying locally produced foodstuff. They argue that since it is locally obtained from the store down the street, it is still fresh; hence its nutritional value has not depreciated to a large extent (Ayala). The statement is true to some extent; however, it does not mean that harvested produce immediately reaches the market stalls. They also argue that they get total nutritional value and a well-balanced diet.

     Giving back to the community is also part of their reasons for supporting the local food system. It raises the farmers’ motivation to produce more due to the accrued revenue, and the local economy grows extensively. Enthoven and Van den Broeck concurred with this statement by claiming that the local farmers feel recognized better for their hard work. (Enthoven and Van den Broeck, 10).

      From the article, local economies are also a concern. A fruit can travel many airlines and still be termed as local, proving the ambiguity of local food production. Many people debated either side for eight years after the article was published. Many people are still arguing about local purchases, and many are on the opposite side. 

Affirming Articles

     Ever since the article by Ayala, other articles have come up to support either side. One report by Arrowquip gives the health, environmental, economic, and social benefits of buying local. Health benefits cite for being a locavore include pesticide and preservatives-free (Arrowquip). Most locally grown food being small scale, has limited use of pesticides. Preservatives are not a necessity since transportation is not inclusive or reduced. Others include ensuring food safety since there is less contamination and improving nutrition by getting the foodstuffs fresh; therefore, the nutritional value is not lost.

     Environmental advantages include promoting accountability since local farmers are well known; hence, they will produce sustainable ecological conditions. In addition, the consumers know where and how the product is done. Economically, locavores argue that money stays in circulation within the community, improving the general local economy and consequently helping create jobs. Socially, it provides cohesion between family members due to their support and encourages the appreciation of different cultures within the locality (Arrowquip).

     Buying

globally has been linked to various advantages, including the cheaper foodstuffs since they are imported in bulk, reducing costs. Also, there is a sense of better quality because regulations on import goods are stricter; hence quality has to be top-notch (United States Department of Agriculture).

     The Global supporters do not dispute buying locally. However, they also add the point of diversity to the picture. One can acquire foods not grown regionally (Verstegen, 198). For instance, foods not native to the United States will be imported, like apples and avocados. It also includes tea and even bananas. Also, it does not necessarily mean enhancing the local and global economies. A global economy appreciating means high living standards in most or even all world nations.

Rebuttal- New Theory

     A journal study article by Krishna and her colleagues in 2018 refuted the stands from either side despite the reasons. It came about from the need to address sustainable feeding for generations to come and the current one (KC et al., 1). Many scholars have come up with solutions like an increase in agricultural production, technological boosts for yields, reduction in food wastage, among others, to mitigate and create a sustainable feeding ecosystem for all.

    So, their study addresses the issue of either being a global person or locavores, which were recurrent in their study research. They, therefore, had to research to prove if the worldwide agriculture production system was nutritionally balanced. They compare recommended dietary options by nutritionists versus the global agricultural statistics.

     What did we review?

     The results show that the question was not whether one should be a locavore to protect and grow the local economy or support the global economy, but in getting sustainable options that will keep the agricultural sector in place for future generations. Otherwise, if there is too much concern on which side to lean on, it will leave little room for addressing issues that are making the current agricultural system unsustainable in the first place.

     For example, the study shows that the global agricultural system has been overproducing fats, grains, and sugar while there is low production of fruits and vegetables (KC et al., 1). Suggest actions on these were in more production of fruits and vegetables, which they saw to have better positive ecological effects while also incorporating proteins requiring minimal land for production. Such major transitions would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, therefore supporting the ecosystem, improving biodiversity, and improving our health.

     The argument they came up with was food is food in the end. Also, it does not necessarily mean that food will be used immediately because it is locally purchased. Most times, refrigeration has to be incorporated, which happens in buying globally. Economically, whether buying local or global, an economy is raised at the end of the day, and a farmer’s livelihood is supported.

     Also, noting that most local farmers use greenhouses for their production, they suggest minimizing greenhouse emissions while producing enough to sustain the growing population (KC et al., 12). The research tried to balance the locavore’s and global supporters’ conflict of interest by giving a neutral ground. Showing the disadvantages of the greenhouse gas emissions while trying to support globalization yet stating the need to reduce arable agricultural land and protect natural habitats will mean a win-win situation for either party (KC et al., 1).

     Summing up, the debate should not be whether to buy locally or globally since most of the steps pertaining to either are similar. First, in terms of economic progress, both benefit. Second, nutritionally both incorporate similar preservation techniques. Also, there is cohesion between community people and between nations. Thirdly, there is a growing need to make their production environmentally friendly while still producing enough food to sustain the ever-increasing demand in both settings. Therefore, the war should be directly on satisfying demand while considering future generations, which will depend on today’s decisions.

     Incorporating these changes and making it a duty to protect biodiversity will prove beneficial to us and teach us that sometimes, the overall goo is what matters most and not individual wants or preferences.

 

 

References   

  • Arrowquip. “Arrowquip.” Arrowquip, 6 June 2017, arrowquip.com/blog/animal-science/top-benefits-buying-locally-grown-food.
  • Ayala, Sharon. “The Great Food Fight: Local vs. Global.” Viewpoint, 8 Mar. 2013, viewpoint.pointloma.edu/the-great-food-fight-local-vs-global/.
  • Enthoven, Laura, and Goedele Van den Broeck. “Local Food Systems: Reviewing Two Decades of Research.” Agricultural Systems, vol. 193, Oct. 2021, pp. 1–14,10.1016/j.agsy.2021.103226. Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
  • United States Department of Agriculture. “Global Food Security | National Institute of Food and Agriculture.” Usda.gov, 2019, nifa.usda.gov/topic/global-food-security.
  • Verstegen, Judith A. “The Local versus Global Food Debate.” Nature Food, vol. 1, no. 4, Apr. 2020, pp. 198–199, 10.1038/s43016-020-0062-5. Accessed 1 June 2020

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