There are numerous reasons, including the reduction of environmental impacts with less shipping miles, and the provision of support to small farmers in your community, which helps the local economy.
However, one of the main reasons why the Local Food Movement began is that people have become disconnected from the food that they are eating. We are putting so much trust into our global food system that we are unaware of how our food was grown and cultivated, the name of the farmer that produced it and the wage they received for doing so, and even how our food was handled and what procedures were taken to ensure our safety. This lack of knowledge about such a vital component of our lives is unsettling, to say the least.
By participating in the purchase of local food, we are able to interact more directly with the people responsible for food production and ask pertinent questions about their practices. We also ensure that farmers receive enough profit from their goods to maintain their livelihood. Through local food, we can ultimately reconnect with our environment and re-learn the pleasures of eating fresh, seasonal foods.
Unfortunately most of what we consume today is highly processed, fast, and has lead to an epidemic of preventable disease such as type II diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiac conditions. This problem stems from the fact that whole foods are outmatched by the cheap, over processed alternative. As Michael Pollen, U.S. Food Activist emphasizes, we need to fight for whole, local foods to be accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford it. These efforts need to be taken on at an individual and household level, through food purchases, at a community level, through public gardens and local markets, and at a government level, through ethical food policies that have real tangible outcomes.