Why freelancers should lead the revolution and eat local

Mar 18, 2014

You’ve heard it before: buying food locally is good for you, for your community, and for the planet.

But you may not have realized that independent business owners, like farmers, restaurateurs, and specialty food producers, are the heart of the local food movement and are the economic engines making change possible. We call them Quiet Revolutionaries, and as fellow revolutionaries and independent workers, we have a special opportunity to build and support the local food movement.

We’re mapping all of the different ways the Quiet Revolution is coming alive on this map, and we encourage you to add the food co-op, restaurant that sources from local farms, CSA, or community garden in your town or city on our map in the “Eat” category.

Why local food?

  • Local food supports independent farmers. Fewer than 1,000,000 Americans claim farming as a primary occupation, and buying local food provides the farmer with the full retail price of the produce. The profit from many large agribusinesses tends to go to distant (even international) investors and lobbyists and middlemen, not to workers or local communities.
  • Local food grows community. Connecting yourself, your family, and your children to local farmers and local food production builds a deeper understanding of your environment and your neighbors. It also keeps your money in your community.
  • Local food is usually more nutritious. Local produce, sold right after it’s picked, usually has more nutrients. It helps fuel a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle.
  • Local food keeps open space open. Local farmers often own undeveloped property, that they may use for less profitable purposes, beekeeping, or just allow to grow wild with wildflowers. Supporting local farmers means this land can remain undeveloped.
  • Local food is better for the environment. Small farmers tend to be more mindful about the impact their work has on the environment: lower pesticide use, crop rotation, and consciousness around soil erosion and degradation, and respect for wildlife, to name just a few ways they support local environments.

Who is local food?

These people make local food and the local food movement possible, and are the types of people, businesses, and organizations that should be mapped on our Quiet Revolution map.

  • Local farms
  • CSAs
  • Food co-ops
  • Locally-sourced, community-minded restaurants or coffee-shops
  • Fair trade specialty foods (like coffee beans)
  • Worker-owned food establishments, like the famous Arizmendi Bakery
  • Non-profits and B-corps that promote sustainable food, like SustainableHarvest.org

Do you have one of these in your local community? Take the time to map it so that other freelancers in your area can find and support these businesses.

Why should freelancers care about local food?

Freelancers are already revolutionaries.

We have talked to a lot of freelancers over the years, and the reason they went solo in the first place was almost always about quality: time with family, doing what they love, a desire for independence.

Quality also is healthy bodies and healthy environments. Quality is creative human labor (not machine labor). Quality is connecting with our communities.

Quality is making sure our neighbors are also living quality lives, and are paid fairly for their efforts or even own a percentage of the businesses profits.

The values of independent workers reflect the values of local food. That’s why we should make every effort to support those values in our day-to-day purchasing decisions and by telling other freelancers to do the same.

Do you buy local? If so, what has it helped you do/be/see?