In the last several years, locally raised foods have gained massive popularity. Along with fruit, vegetables, and eggs, people have also been seeking sources of locally raised meats. It’s natural to question why people would pay more and work harder to find it when there is plenty of meat readily available in the grocery store. As it turns out, there are many reasons.
People are tired of being kept in the dark about the methods that go into producing their food. The media has been littered with accounts of big producers skirting food safety laws, adding undeclared ingredients, and forcing animals to live in squalid conditions.
Furthermore, there is the issue of meat manufacturers injecting livestock with hormones and antibiotics and giving them genetically modified feed. Such drugs have been shown to end up in meat and are believed to pose serious health risks to humans.
As far as genetically modified feed, some circles believe that the altered genetic material may be transferred to the meat and therefore to the consumer. With locally produced meat, the consumer is able to visit the farm, speak to the farmer, and see exactly how the animals are raised.
Another vexing issue surrounding large-scale, factory-farmed meat is the lack of humane treatment. Animals are often kept standing in their own feces, have no room to lie down or turn around, and are kept in overcrowded quarters. Besides being inherently cruel, this also increases stress among the animals, promoting illness and resulting in inferior product quality.
Unfortunately, keeping animals in these conditions is more efficient, allowing large-scale producers to cut costs and maximize profits. Local meat tends to be produced on a much smaller scale, which enables the farmers to keep the animals in cleaner, roomier, and less crowded conditions. This means happier, healthier animals and an overall superior end product.
Support Local Economy
People are beginning to question the sense in purchasing food from thousands of miles away when it is possible to produce an ample supply in the immediate area. Buying products from other regions inevitably channels money out of the local economy and sends it to another area. This habit has lead to a loss of vitality in many towns, cities, and even states. As a result, small businesses fail, there are no local jobs, and people move away. Producing food, particularly meat, on a local scale puts money directly back into the local economy and helps these areas thrive.
Another problem with shipping food over vast distances rather than producing it locally is that it is damaging to the environment. To ship a truckload of fresh meat produced on one end of the country to consumers on the opposite end requires a refrigerated truck and hundreds of gallons of petroleum. Naturally, this results in pollution of the air, land, and water. Meat that is produced on a local scale doesn’t have to travel as far to get to market, reducing emissions and the reliance on petroleum products.
Discourages Big Business
Big business has become a destructive and oppressive force throughout the world. These companies funnel money away from local economies, lobby the government for laws that favor them, and have little or no accountability to the consumer. They also harm small businesses and farms, who can’t afford to compete.
This also hinders consumer choice. In many areas, people are restricted to what one big-box store offers because the town’s smaller competitors have been driven out of business. Purchasing meat raised by a local farm or market helps ensure that the small farmer stays in business and is able to continue providing quality foods.
About our guest…
Molly Greene is a proud Texan and enjoys blogging about food, whether it’s finding the value in eating local or healthy ways to eat on a budget. She advises that by eating right, and pursuing biodentical hormones, Houston residents of all types can enjoy a new lease on life.