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Fact or fiction? 7 eco-myths debunked

By: Shea Gunther on Dec. 23, 2009, 10 a.m.
Local farmers market

Photo: Natalie Maynor/Flickr

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Local food is always better

"Buy local!" the stickers yell. The local shops in my town sport that message everywhere; your town probably does, too. The buy local movement is a strong current in the river of environmentalism, and for a good reason: It does make good sense to keep your money and shopping close to home ... but not always. Local food isn't always better. There are many things you have to consider when assessing the environmental impact of a food item. Besides just how far it traveled from field to market, consider how the food was harvested, processed, stored and transported. For example: New Zealand farmers use a lot of renewable energy and less fertilizers, so it's actually less CO2-intensive for U.K. citizens to import lamb than to buy the local variety. Local is important, but it's not everything. Do your homework.