Buying Local: A Lifestyle, Not Just A Week-Long Challenge - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Buying Local: A Lifestyle, Not Just A Week-Long Challenge

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MARYLAND - If every household in Maryland purchased just $12 worth of farm products, for eight weeks, over $200 million would be put back into local pockets. This is one of the many reasons the Buy Local Challenge kicked off this week in Maryland, encouraging residents to eat at least one product from a local farm every day until July 28th. However, for some local businesses, it's more than just a week-long challenge, but a lifestyle.

At Peninsula Regional Medical Center, about 12.3% of their food is bought locally.

"Usually they say organic products cost a little bit more but by supporting your farmers here they're putting it back in your same economy," says Kristopher Hughes, executive chef at PRMC. "It may even lead to more jobs."

For many, "buying local" does not just include produce. A few years ago in Berlin, Christie McDowell, owner of The Good Farm, paired up with Bryan Bushmiller, owner and brewer of Burley Oak Brewing Company, to start a challenge in which residents buy local for a whole month in August.

"It's a win-win situation," says McDowell.

"I think buying local is a really, really important thing that we all have to do," says Bryan Bushmiller, owner and brewer of Burley Oak Brewing Company in Berlin. "It improves our economy locally, any kind of money that is spent in our economy will stay in our economy."

Burley Oak Brewing Company in Berlin is a community-run and supported brewery and business. They utilize products from local farmers, and generate about 40,000 pounds of malt from a farm in Snow Hill.

While buying locally can be a huge benefit to the local economy, it also has some major health benefits as well.

"Buying more local product you're going to get it at peak nutrition, some items you get at the supermarket, you don't know how long its been sitting there," says Hughes. "Plus, local farmers use less pesticides than somewhere in Florida or California, where they are mass producing to make the product last longer."

"It'll be picked, then it sits and waits for a big truck to pick it up, then it goes and sits in a distribution center for another day before its ordered back on trucks," says McDowell. "And, the second a plant is picked or harvested, it starts to lose nutritional content.

Hughes adds that buying locally can be a benefit to the environment as well.

"Supporting local means less demand for transportation, which can mean less emissions in the air."

McDowell says that for their challenge, they focus on community value, rather than profit.

"It feels good in a different sense than just strictly numbers. My favorite places to buy are little roadside stands, where it's some guy growing in his back yard, and he's doing it just because he enjoys what he does."

McDowell is asking for anyone interested in their "buy local" challenge in Berlin, to sign up on their Facebook page, and be sure to make a list of things you cannot find locally, so others can give advice about where to find them.

For those interested in trying out the "buy local" challenge for just this week in Maryland, visit the Buy Local Challenge website.

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