Local products at the farmer's market in Valdivia, southern Chile.
© Marcela Torres
© Marcela Torres
by Marcela Torres
One of the principles of responsible tourism is to support local economies. How can this be achieved? Easy! By buying products from the place you visit and demanding tourism companies to also prefer local producers and restaurants to offer food from the area.
In addition, when doing so you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint because by preferring local products you will diminish the amount of energy needed for their transport. Have you thought about how much it costs to eat Ecuadorian shrimps in Chile, for example? Or Swiss chocolates? Or Spanish olive oil?
Of course, the idea is not to stop trade between countries. But when you go to a destination, your visit will be more meaningful if you contribute to the local economy by consuming products and foods from the area.
Think about the small producers of traditional pastries and “chicha” in the Curacavi Valley, for example. Or the dozens of vineyards that produce top-quality wine in the Maipo Valley. Or the small farmers that plant quinoa, a cereal that is typical of the high Andes. Or the wide variety of fish and seafood you can get all along the Chilean coast.
How you choose to spend your money when you travel is important. Personally, if I go abroad, I don’t look for Chilean food no matter how much I like it. I always enjoy discovering new dishes made from typical local products. There’s the magic in traveling! In the possibility of expanding your horizons, trying new things and letting yourself be amazed by the diversity and authenticity of the place you visit. And isn’t it even better if you also help local people?
This entry was originally posted by the author on August 11, 2011.