Tips on Buying Local Food

Where and How to Buy Local Food

Eating locally is chock full of great benefits for you, your health, your local community, the economy, and the environment. Plus, it means you can cook and eat super fresh ingredients that taste way better than those that have traveled for miles to get to your table. This article will introduce you on how and where to buy local food; the first steps to a locavore diet


How to buy local food

But if you’re now wondering how to incorporate more locally grown food into your diet, look no further. Here are the best options for how to buy local food:

  • Farmers markets: Much like your local grocery store, farmers markets are a cornucopia of produce, grains, baked goods, crafts, dairy, meat, and seafood (depending on your location). You’ll more than likely have at least three or four vendors from which to choose (larger markets have dozens) giving you the choice between a wide variety of producers. Plus many will allow you to sample as you go! Read more about farmers market.  
  • Community supported agriculture (CSA): A CSA essentially is a direct agreement between consumer (you) and farmer. You purchase a share of the local farm, which provides funds that are used by the farmer to purchase what they need for the year. You may also be required to put in some of your own time to work the farm in season as part of the agreement. In exchange, you receive a delivery of fresh foods to your door (or for pick up) from the farm throughout the growing season (generally June to October). 
  • Cultivate a 100 mile or zero mile diet: With the aim of eating only foods that were produced within 100 miles of your table, the 100-mile diet is challenging and eye-opening. Even more fun is cultivating a zero-mile diet by growing and producing all of your own food. It can’t get any fresher than that!
  • Local food at the supermarket: You may be able to find food producers that do not sell either through a farmers market or CSA by checking out the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service’s Local Food Directories (US). Some grocery stores now provide sections or labels to identify those foods produced locally - everything from fruits and vegetables to seafood, meats, dairy, and baked items. If you have the choice, these are always preferable to imported options.


Encourage local food in your community

Now if you live in an area where there are next to no options for procuring locally-produced food, why not do something about it? For instance, you could try:

  • Starting a community garden with your neighbors to begin cultivating a zero-mile diet.
  • Talking to local famers to start your own farmers market.
  • Encouraging your local grocery store to carry produce and other foods grown by local farmers.

You never know, you may be the instrument of change your community needs to get the local food movement off the ground!


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