Abraham Lincoln once said that “The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.” I couldn’t agree more.
You might be wondering if the hype is real, and why so many of these projects are popping up on your social media feed.
These 4 trends help explain why local food is attracting a new generation of young farmers.
Reason #1 - People Are Tired of Getting Their Food From Giant Global Corporations
People love shopping. This means we especially love giant global corporations. Ikea is practically a national monument to the American Dream.
But when it comes to food, people are starting to question the wisdom of getting their food from global multinationals.
They are tired of ingredients that can’t be pronounced, and they wonder how far the food has traveled to get to the store.
People are saying they want simple, local food.
Reason #2 - Being Healthy Feels Good
Corn syrup, chocolate and carbs oh my!
When you have had enough processed food, you need something light and healthy to get your blood sugar back under control. I know I know, counting calories (or carbs) is boring. I get bored every time my wife opens the My Fitness Pal app.
But you know what isn’t boring? Feeling great and having energy. That’s why more and more people are reducing their carbs and eating more veggies.
Reason #3 - Community
During World War II, Americans planted over 12 million urban gardens that were called “Victory Gardens”. These gardens helped feed the nation and gave people a way to contribute to the effort. We felt like we were in it together.
But times have changed. Nowadays, we don’t know our neighbor, and it feels like we forgot how to grow things.
The good news is that it has never been easier to get started. Following bloggers like Garden Betty gets you free advice on your garden plot. And even if you don’t have a yard, new techniques are making it easy to grow more vegetables in smaller spaces.
So get in on the fun. Teach your kids how to plant some spinach. That mint can be used for a tasty mojito. Those mustard greens will taste great in a cobb salad.
Go ahead and fire up the BBQ, dice up a fresh salad, and invite the neighbors over!
Reason #4 - Job Creation
But as we pointed out in reason #1, lots of food is imported from out of state or out of country. This means that there is room for local food businesses and startups.
Indeed, a recent report to congress shows that local food growers are powering a $6.1 billion economy. This is just a sliver of the total food economy, but it is still worth a second look.
My prediction: this kind of work will play an important role in the economy of the future. You don’t need a college degree to do it, and it is starting to be cool. Local food is an expression of local values.
In an increasingly connected world, this is a natural response to the excesses of globalization.