South Carolina has a wide variety of farms that raise fruits and vegetables, flowers and herbs, and animal products of all kinds. Our farmers are dedicated to stewardship and committed to quality. And while they love what they do, they aren't doing it for entertainment. They need to make a living. Consumers that value fresh food and a working landscape should support local farmers by buying their products.

Here are ten reasons why:

1. Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, overseeing quality - unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities.

2. Local food can be better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.

3. Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing, and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, oft