In an ideal world buying your food locally means that you put your money in the hands of the person who produces it. Today that is becoming increasingly simple because farmers’ markets are sprouting up in places they haven’t been before, supermarkets are getting a realizing people want local products and even the internet is getting into the game.
If you cannot meet your producer directly, then buying locally looking for ingredients that are produced as close to you as possible.
When I lived in Normandy, all the ingredients I used were produced within 10 miles of where I lived except for seafood, which was fished about 100 miles away. THAT was local, but then this is France, where locally produced food is considered the Holy Grail. It is special here; France is a rural country with a relatively small population and an ancient tradition of local products, local dishes.
So I got everything locally. Well, everything but dates, citrus, avocadoes not to mention coffee, tea, and sugar. So, did I want to be so local that I didn’t partake of those things? Or wine? Or the occasional cocktail?
No. So sometimes my local “boundaries” expand, the way yours will too. I Spain, Italy, the Maghreb (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco) and, occasionally but not often, Israel. I buy coffee from a fair trade provider, tea the same, whiskey from a small producer in Ireland, and wine from small producers throughout France. Sugar? There is a big sugar beet production in northern France, and they are my suppliers! For anything more exotic, I’m careful to only buy things that are transported by ship. I lack for nothing.
So local isn’t limited to what is produced in your neighborhood, because we all have different constraints. Buying local is doing your utmost to purchase from local growers and for other choices, to be thoughtful about the consequences on your own health, and that of the planet.