5 Ways to Eat Local in Your Own Town
You’ve heard the term “Eat Local” again and again. But what does it really mean and what are some ways that you can support this movement to Eat Local? While there are environmental reasons to eat local (reducing your carbon footprint!) it is also typically less expensive. And who doesn’t want to pay less for their food? Read on for five ways to reach out in your community and learn to eat local in your own city!
Shop the Farmer’s Market in your city.
The best produce comes directly from farms close to you. It has spent less time off the vine before reaching your hands. You can have the unique privilege of talking directly with the farmer about their growing methods or ideas on how to prepare your produce. Farmers are a wealth of knowledge on their products so why not go directly to the source? Ask your farmers if they grow organically (not all can afford the process to have that label affixed to their farm, but you will find that most don’t use pesticides on their crops.) Not sure where the closest one to you is? Check out LocalFarmMarkets.org to locate those in your area.
Look for signs in your grocery store marking produce grown locally.
All of the grocery stores in my area have signs promoting things that are grown locally, you just have to look for them. Most stores will highlight these local items with bigger signs and ones that say “Local!” In fact, all produce should have a sign on it showing you where it has come from. When given the option, always choose the one grown closest to you. Not only will it be fresher, but you will be cutting down on the carbon footprint to get that fruit or vegetable from the farm to your door.
Grow your own food.
My thumb is not green. Let’s be clear, it’s a dark gray color. Meaning, I don’t kill everything, but pretty close. If you don’t have a green thumb, start small by growing herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, or parsley. They are fairly easy to maintain and look great on your kitchen windowsill. If you have some outdoor space (or a patio!) plant some vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Or try your hand at growing greens like lettuce, kale, and spinach!
Pick your own fruits.
Growing up, one of my favorite activities was apple picking in the fall. There is something about picking an apple off the tree and eating it immediately-- it just tastes better! In many areas of the country, you can also pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches, to name a few. Check out this awesome resource, PickYourOwn.org, to find farms where you can go pick your own produce.There is nothing sweeter than harvesting your own fresh fruits from the tree, vine, or bush!
Try a CSA Box.
Want to be surprised by your farmer each week? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows farmers to deliver boxes of local and seasonal produce to you. Usually, your farm will have a pick up spot (either at their farm or perhaps at a nearby Farmer’s Market) once per week. You box each week will contain whatever the farm is producing that week. This can be very exciting and fun for your family as you experience new produce and are inspired to create new ways to prepare it!
Now that you have five ways to get into the “Eat Local” movement, what will you try first?