17 Oct Ensuring the Future of Massachusetts’ Local Farms
ifarm’s owner, Chris Barensfeld, recently outfitted her daily-driver with a “Choose Fresh & Local” special license plate and would like to spread the word about this initiative, sponsored by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, in support of local Massachusetts produce!
Comparing Apples to Apples
Apples are a great example of the value of local farms.
The average apple at a supermarket is 14 months old.
Let’s have that once more. The average apple at a supermarket is 14 months old!
In order to have a supply year-round, freshly harvested apples are preserved with fungicides and a chemical called 1-methylcyclopropene, then coated in wax and frozen. At twelve months they are christened “birthday apples.” This process makes it possible to ship the apples any distance. By the time an apple reaches a consumer, the valuable nutrients of the apple have degraded. At that point the apple is just a bundle of sugars. (x)
Compare that apple to one freshly picked at a local farm. There is no comparison! Local agriculture provides answers to many of the problems associated with international food systems.
Do local farms have a lower carbon footprint? Yes, less fuel for shipping. Is local food more nourishing? Yes, no deterioration in cold-storage. Are the agricultural practices of small local farms more eco-friendly and sustainable? Yes, they minimize erosion and runoff.
But more importantly, do you like the idea of being connected to your local community through the food you eat? Do you like knowing exactly how your food is grown and the farmers growing it? Does knowing where your food comes from and the jobs it creates add to your sense of community?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, take a look at the tax-deductible “Choose Fresh & Local” license plate. (Note, these plates are not available for commercial or leased vehicles.)
Ensuring the Future of Local Farms
We have been raised in a world where grocery store shelves and freezers are full of pre-packaged, processed food. Our fresh produce emmigrates thousands of miles…bananas from Honduras, grapes from Chile. Locally grown food is the sustainable alternative to the industrialized international system.
Between 2002 and 2012, farms declined nationally by 1% annually, but grew in Massachusetts by 27%. Fortunately local food is in demand in the Commonwealth, but most of the new farmers are young entrepreneurs who require education and guidance. Local farmers need help if this state-wide growth is to continue. A large portion of the proceeds from the sale of the “Choose Fresh & Local” plates goes toward training young farmers to ensure we will have community farms into the next generation and beyond.
We all have a choice between apples. Consider shopping the farm stand instead of the big box store. Click below to see the tax deductible MA Ag plate.