The Green — and Tasty — Benefits of Local Produce Email Food mileage – the distance food travels to reach your plate – has increased fourfold since the 1960s. While there is no certification label or specific definition to buying “local,” you can identify where your food is coming from by checking the packaging or signage at the grocery store. Choosing local produce at the store or farmers market, has many benefits including: Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions The closer food is grown to where it is sold, the lower its impact on air quality. Food is transported around the world by truck, cargo ship, airplane and rail, all of which release carbon dioxide. Buying from local farms means a reduced environmental impact from transportation. Healthier Food Eating fresh produce maximizes its nutritional value. A University of California study showed that vegetables can lose 15 to 55 percent of vitamin C within a week of being picked. Because food grown locally spends less time en route to its destination, it can be picked when it is ripe. Strengthen the Local Economy Now more than ever it is important to support local small businesses, including farms, within the San Luis Obispo County community. Buying local food helps support local businesses and keeps your dollars in the local economy.