When it’s possible, it’s always better to buy locally. Money stays in the community, and you support small businesses. When people think of supporting local businesses, they might think about stores, mom-and-pop restaurants and auto repair shops, and other companies that the corporate world hasn’t tainted. They rarely think of farms that also have many products to sell locally, including dairy foods.
Many reasons to buy locally exist, and all benefit you and the farms you purchase from.
When you buy local dairy products, you get fresher milk and other dairy products. Fresh dairy products are usually delivered within 24 hours, so you don’t have to worry about whether milk or other dairy produce will go bad after just a day or two in the fridge. This is one of the top reasons to buy local, though it might not be the most important.
You might wonder how safe and how nutritional local dairy is. In most cases, a farm’s milking system pumps the milk directly into a refrigerated tank, where it is quickly cooled. It is then immediately shipped to the plant to be homogenized and pasteurized. The quick process retains more local dairy nutrients and creates better quality milk. It is also safer for those concerned about dairy food safety since the milk is immediately refrigerated. As soon as it is processed for consumption, it goes into bottles and right back into the refrigerator.
Environmental Impact Reduction
Local food and dairy don’t have to travel as far – it’s fresher and saves on fuel and diesel. It also reduces emissions since the trucks are traveling fewer miles. According to Sustainable Connections, buying local reduces environmental impacts by 26 percent.
In addition to traveling less, you can look for products not packaged in plastic. Opt for local milk in glass bottles or farms whose customers can return the bottles to then be reused.
Supporting the Local Community
Buying local dairy means supporting the local community. In supporting a local farm, the money goes right back into the community.
Local farmers who do not use pesticides and other toxins help improve air quality. They also prevent water pollution since the pesticides are not washed into groundwater, ending up in reservoirs.
And, local dairy products do not have time to go bad before consumers purchase them. Have you ever brought a gallon of milk home and opened it, only to have it sour within the next day or two? Buying local dairy takes about 24 hours to get from the cow to your doorstep instead of a week or more to get to the store and then to your house.
Finally, buying local dairy creates more jobs in the community, which means that more people have an opportunity to work for a job that treats our planet right.
As for supporting local agriculture, your business means that farmers have a reason to keep their pastures undeveloped. They need room for crops and cows. As long as they can sell their products, especially to locals, they do not have the temptation to sell out to a builder who will build houses one on top of the other.
When farmers keep their land, it also allows wildlife to thrive. When a builder starts building subdivisions, it pushes wildlife out of the area. Some wildlife might leave the area, and certain species might phase out since there isn’t room for them, and some might even migrate into more populated areas. That can be dangerous when coyotes, bears, and other carnivores start looking for food in trash cans instead of in the woods.
Buy Local Dairy
When you eliminate the steps between food production and your home, you can save considerably. While your little part doesn’t seem like much, it does impact, especially when more than several people start doing their part. It even supports local businesses and keeps the money in the community since farmers will use the funds to source local products for the farm.