Local Food is More Sustainable

What is “local” food?
Local Food is food that was grown or produced within a certain radius of where it is consumed. The USDA uses a 400 mile radius for their definition of "Local Food", however, some local food advocates have stricter criteria of less than 100 miles. Pittsburgh food distributors and organizations, including Parkhurst, Paragon Foods, Giant Eagle, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Public School System promote a 150 mile radius for food to be considered locally sourced.

Why is local food important?
It's estimated that, on average in the US, food travels more than 1,500 miles from the farm to your plate. Local food is fresher, lasts longer, and tastes better than food that's traveled many miles to reach you. In addition, most of those foods are grown using heavy fertilizer and pesticide applications, both of which are made from fossil fuel, and cause environmental damage and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Local food, therefore, is more sustainable in a number of ways.

Buying local food also adds to the economic vibrancy of the region. In Western PA, regional farmers offer a wide variety of food including vegetables, meat, dairy, fruit, and grains. When food producers sell locally, they get more money in their pocket since there are fewer steps to the sale.