Hey everyone! I've been thinking about the importance of local food and the role it plays in our communities' health, financial wellness, and long term security. I won't get into all of that today, but I do want to put out three things we can all do to improve and support our local food economy. I guess I'll jump right in.
Grow your own.
First, I'd say the best option is to grow your own food. This could mean having a huge garden and raising animals for meat, or it may mean having a few potted plants on the south side of your house. You can establish a connection to your food SO easily. You don't have to be a farmer to grow your own! Personally, I would start with herbs. Maybe some cilantro, some basil, some parsley. Fresh herbs are the best, and you can pick just what you need and save the rest for later. I know it's hard to use the whole cilantro bunch you get in the store! So grow some food for yourself. Maybe it's herbs, lettuce, or some tomatoes. Grow what you like, and grow that connection between you and the food you put in your body!
Buy from a farmer.
The second course of action I'd suggest is buying food directly from a farmer. It might take some searching, but you won't have to look too hard. There are plenty of producers growing a wide variety of foods. If you're looking for vegetables, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program at a nearby farm. You'll get to know the people that grow your food and their practices. When farmers are transparent with their practices, you can feel better about the quality of your food. For meat, look for a local farmer raising animals on pasture. The meat tastes better, it's more nutrient-dense, and you can feel good about the way your farmer is humanely raising the animals. We all make a vote every week with our grocery money. What do we want? If it's cheap meat, Tyson is more than happy to grow mushy chicken for us. If we want quality food options for our families' health, we need to vote with our food dollars.
Tell a friend.
The third thing I'd encourage you to do is to spread the love! Tell friends or family about how wonderful your food is and how great it feels to know your farmer. I'm not saying you should be annoying your friends and family by continually raving about your great food, but do make sure they know. Have some friends over for dinner and roast a chicken with some vegetables. When they comment on how delicious it is, just tell them where you got it and why it's so delicious. Small farmers depend on their customers to spread the word. When you go to a party with friends, you'll hear comments about your food. Go ahead and tell them where it's from. A growing number of people are wanting good food from a source they can trust. Don't withhold that gold nugget of knowledge! Share it with your friends and family!