As a consumer, there can be a lot less choice. For specific questions related to visuals, please contact Todd Reubold. It might be fine for gourmet lettuce, or fancy greens for expensive restaurants, but regular folks may find it out of reach. Big box chains can ship food more efficiently  —  even if it travels longer distances  —  because of the gigantic volumes they work in. Locally grown food is expensive. Even though we can often find a variety of fruits and vegetables all year-round in the grocery store, the best time to eat them is when they are locally grown and in season. To add to this, you may not check against all the food items in your shopping list in the market. And I love that our daughters grew up  —  even as city kids  —  knowing a little bit about where food comes from. These systems glow with a fantastic magenta light  —  from LEDs that are specially tuned to provide optimal light for photosynthesis  —  with stacked trays of plants, one on top of the other. # And another concern, that may surface with local food, is the subject of regulation or certification. Creative Commons’ Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license. It’s incredibly popular. However, the bandwagon of local food also entails a few disadvantages, which probably, many are still unaware of. Additionally, larger big box and brand name stores could go out of business and the employees who work at those stores would also lose their jobs. Farmers and businesses who produce in smaller quantities typically incur higher costs associated with growing, producing and distributing their goods. No wonder local food is so popular. Many of the foods we find at the grocery store come from tropical regions overseas. Visiting the farms and getting to physically experience the land that grows our food connects us with our community and brings us closer. Another contributing factor to the higher price tag is production, because the work isn’t outsourced, the cost of skilled and unskilled labor is usually more. Many local farms are organic or well-run conventional farms, which can produce many benefits to soils, waterways and wildlife. There is also some debate as to whether conventional vs. organic should come into play here as well. Why? Even the most ambitious urban farming efforts can’t replace the rest of the world’s agriculture. That’s two to three times as much electricity as a typical (and still very inefficient) American home. For example, the Wall Street Journal reports that mini-lettuces grown by Green Line Growers costs more than twice as much as organic lettuce available in most stores. Other authors are starting to point out the problems with these systems, too (read very good critiques here, here, here and here). Second, food produced this way is very expensive. Others, like Gotham Greens, are growing food in rooftop greenhouses in major cities. Researchers in the Chicago study found that out of every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains in the community. Get in touch with us and we'll talk... # Another important factor which may discourage most people to be more inclined towards supporting local food, is the factor of convenience. Additionally, locally grown produce that hasn’t been scrubbed and sanitized still contains organisms which support gut health and a healthy immune response. Yes, I’m afraid we can  —  especially when we start to grow food indoors with energy-intensive, artificial life-support systems. As a result, indoor farms are severely limited and have a hard time growing things besides simple greens. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Finally, indoor farms use a lot of energy and materials to operate. Plus Some Simple Guidelines, Why Quality Over Price is Always the Sustainable Choice, Daily Spiritual Practices That Nurture Your Spirit. At the end of the day, local food systems are generally better for the environment, including greenhouse gas emissions. Increased land usage by big superstores has led to lowered water tables, increased water runoff (often contaminated by oils) and reduced local animal habitats. For example, a small local clothing manufacturer may only be able to place orders on 2 or 3 fabrics a season which will be reflected in the numbers of styles they are able to offer in their selection. While I appreciate the enthusiasm and innovation put into developing indoor farms, I think these efforts are, at the end of the day, somewhat counterproductive. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Adios! And local food systems  —  especially organic farms that use fewer fertilizers and grass-fed beef that sequesters carbon in the soil  —  can reduce these more critical emissions. Just remember: Farmland has the benefit of generally appreciating in value over time, whereas a big metal box is likely to only decrease in value. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Editor’s note: The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Ensia. I hope you will learn enough to sway you to overlook the disadvantages and buy local anyway whenever you can. So the bottom line is, sticking only to local goods, means compromising to the wide variety of foods which otherwise, you could have enjoyed if you had supported imported foods. And the local food movement is making much of this possible. We have also seen a movement toward what you might call “super-local” food, where people grow more food right in the city.