Florida should eat from its own backyard

We eat many different types of food. South Florida has probably one of the best climates in the country for growing just about anything, yet amazingly most of our food comes from almost everywhere except Florida.

Take oranges for example – a state symbol. Much of the orange juice consumed in Miami comes from oranges grown in South America or other regions abroad.

This, to me, is ridiculous. Not only does it seem impractical, but it also affects the environment greatly.

Many other foods, like chicken, apples, pasta and corn, come from other parts of America and many times from abroad. The reason for all this food importation is mostly cost, as it’s somehow cheaper to get oranges from Brazil.

In other parts of the country like the Northeast, it is impossible to grow many types of plants due to unfavorable climates, and in the winter it is impossible to grow anything. To get food from other parts of the country or abroad seems more logical in those areas. Yet Florida has a yearlong growing season.

My main concern with importing food is the huge amount of energy required for transportation. Another problem with importing large quantities of food is that more farmers in Florida lose their profits and their jobs, harming our economy.

The best way to curb this trend is to buy local and support Florida farmers to diversify the types of crops they grow. This helps the environment by limiting the amount of fossil fuels burned through transportation of food. Also, if farmers plant different crops to fill the need of a varied diet, the soil in farming areas will not get degraded.

Buying local food can also cost more. However, in the long run, importing food will cost the environment a lot more.

Nikhil Ghorpade is a sophomore majoring in public relations, and ecosystem science and policy.