Markus Lattner has long supported local agriculture. As the improvement manager for a community supported agricultural (CSA) farm in Pennsylvania, Markus Lattner knows the impact of buying local on the local economy. Money isn’t the only thing restaurants and grocers save when they buy local, however, according to Markus Lattner. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Save money—As fuel costs have increased, Markus Lattner reports that the cost of shipping food from overseas has become unmanageable to some businesses. That increase is built into food costs and passed on to restaurant owners and grocers. Fuel prices are dropping, however, taking away this incentive. Markus Lattner proposes taxes on oil that will encourage businesses to buy domestically, which will serve to boost the local economy.
- Freshness—Markus Lattner says there is no way to deny the freshness of a locally grown tomato compared with one that has been imported from far away. Markus Lattner points to several reasons from this. First, locally grown produce is often lacking the chemicals found in the shipped versions. Local farmers may also pay more attention to details like soil condition, exposure to sunlight, or ripeness of fruit at the time it is harvested.
- No risk of interruption in service—Imports of goods can be influenced by wars, natural disasters, and more, according to Markus Lattner. By relying on other economies to provide food, we run the risk of someday being without. Markus Lattner feels that keeping things local adds to a sense of self-reliance.
- Improve local economy—When a shopper support nearby farmers, he or she puts money back into the economy. Those farmers spend monies earned at local establishments, Markus Lattner points out. Increased demand means local farmers will need to add more employees, Markus Lattner says, which can only be good for your local unemployment rate. This puts more tax dollars into a local economy, which leads to improved roads, education, and more, concludes Markus Lattner.
- Save lives—It may sound extreme, but there are several studies that have pinpointed cancer risks associated with the pollution emitted by ships carrying food from overseas. According to Markus Lattner, the U.S. study attributed 60,000 deaths per year in our country to the world’s 90,000 cargo ships. A British study found one ship emits the same cancer-causing chemicals as 50 million cars.
Markus Lattner knows the many benefits of buying local foods and he hopes that by spreading the word, he’ll encourage others to take part. Markus Lattner’s support of the slow food initiative is a commitment to educating others on its value.