What does LOCAL really mean?

More and more you are seeing the term "LOCAL" on grocery store shelves.  What does local really mean?  Well, there is no clear answer at this point.  Legally, local can mean whatever the store wants it to mean.  It can mean, made or grown within a 200 mile radius, it can mean in the county or state or even in the country. 

Buying local has become a big business and it's getting bigger.  People want food that's grown closer to home for a number of reasons: picked later and contains more nutrients, helps the local economy, and has a lower carbon footprint (less miles in a truck).  These are all great things, but if you start educating yourself, you may find that it's not always the case.  Some chain stores have distribution centers far away, so the produce may be harvested locally, but then it still makes a long trip up to the Sacramento are, then back to your store shelves.  

What's the answer?  You have to decide why you want locally produced food and educate yourself.  That may mean shopping at a different store than you were before and paying for it, but the choice is yours.

Article Sourced Fortune.com "The big business behind the local food"