If you’re a frequent reader of The Alternative Daily, you already know there are many reasons to buy local food: it looks and tastes better, it’s more nutritious, it’s safer, and it helps support local farms and families, builds community, benefits the environment and much more.
If you want to start buying local foods more often, here are five great places you might be able to find it near you this summer.
A farmers market is probably the most obvious place to look for local food. There are all different types, from small markets where producers around the area bring their produce to larger markets that offer not only fresh, local foods but handcrafted items, and the opportunity to listen to live music as well as to take part in social activities.
Markets tend to be a social venue where you bump into friends and neighbors and meet local farmers face to face. By talking to the farmer, you can learn firsthand how foods are grown, harvested and eaten.
CSA stands for “community supported agriculture.” Consumers purchase shares of the harvest by the season, quarter, month or week. Members pick up their boxes of produce (and sometimes other items) at the farm, or another location at a scheduled time each week. Some CSA farmers even deliver right to your door. The farmers get guaranteed sales and money in advance, while members get the freshest produce you can buy.
A food co-op (which stands for co-operative), is a store owned by its members. They’re generally dedicated to providing the highest quality grocery items, with some open only to members and others open to the general public.
Membership usually provides a number of benefits, including discounts. Not all foods here are necessarily local, but most co-ops tend to build relationships with local and regional farmers.
Some restaurants are dedicated to using ingredients from local producers, particularly gourmet, specialty or alternative eateries. You may need to do a little research, or ask your area dining establishments about the exact sources of their food.
Grow your own
It doesn’t get much more local than growing food in your own backyard. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, many vegetables can be grown using containers on a patio or deck. Some of the easiest to start out with include tomatoes, spinach, radish, peppers and beets.
Today, going local is easier than ever!
-The Alternative Daily