Know Where Your Food Comes From: Local
“Local” doesn’t just refer to the crisp apple that you bought at the farmers’ market. You may also see the label on a chocolate bar at the supermarket. Even though cacao beans are not grown in your state, the chocolate bar was produced there.
Now more than ever, we are faced with the inefficiencies in our supply chain throughout COVID. As a direct result, we’ve seen more local products on grocery store shelves and connected with commercial kitchens.
Without being a regulated label, there are several definitions of “local” depending on different manufacturers and producers. However, most consider it to mean any product that was grown, raised, or produced in the state that it is being sold. The key is having an identifying step in creating a product. Rather than having a product produced or grown in an outside state and just simply packed in yours.
Farmer Spotlight: Hoffman Farms
Both 3rd generation farmers, Derrick and Hanmei Hoffman opened Hoffman Farms in 2014 in Greeley, Colorado. They are family owned and grow over 60 varieties of vegetables which are sold direct to Colorado consumers. Derrick shares some of the differences in their operations compared to a national brand. He explains, “On a large farm for vegetable production, a lot of them already have contracts in place and deal directly with your grocery stores and are well established. In our case, being a smaller to midsized farm, we have to essentially be fully vertically integrated. We have to be able to do all the farming to marketing to packaging to self-distribution.”
The Importance of Buying Local
When you purchase local ingredients, you’re not only supporting businesses like Hoffman Farms, but you’re also investing in your economy and sustainable practices.
For every $100 that you spend locally, $68 will stay in your community. Contrastingly, only $43 remains when you buy from a national brand.
You’re helping to create jobs and ensuring a strong local economy.
Purchasing local helps conserve energy and resources through less travel and packaging.
You tend to be eating fresher products that were harvested or produced just a few days earlier.
You are maintaining and improving the land that you live on by supporting sustainable farming and ranching practices.
While there is no regulated certification, each state has their own program to promote these products. Danielle Trotta, Business Development Strategist at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, shares that “91% of consumers in Colorado are more likely to seek out Colorado products when shopping.”
Any producer, farmer, rancher, or even restaurant can join the Colorado Proud program if they are located in Colorado and actively feature local products. By joining, these local businesses have access to Colorado Proud marketing materials, business development workshops, networking opportunities, and more.
Purchasing your favorite products from local producers is one of the easiest ways to positively impact your community and the ecosystem. Look out for local products next time in your grocery stores and on restaurant menus.