This is a guest blog post by James Kim from Food on the Table
Many currently contend that eating local, or becoming a “locavore,” is “the new organic.” As organic food firms have started to use industrial, long-distance and environmentally unfriendly shipping methods, foodies have begun to look a little closer to home for their grub. Eating locally supports local business, minimizes air pollution, and brings fresher food to your table. So how can you become a locavore? Read on to find out how to add this to your meal planning.
1. Visit a farmer’s market or farm stand: Farmer’s markets allow the farmers to sell directly to the consumers. You can thereby personally meet the person who has grown your food! Because the food has come straight from the farm to the market, the food is fresher (vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are at their peak) and air pollution or total carbon footprint is minimized. The USDA provides a farmer’s market search engine that can help you find your nearest farmer’s market. You can also try the Local Harvest search engine.
2. CSA: This stands for Community Supported Agriculture, a program where a farmer offers a box of vegetables or other farm products to the public. If a person wishes to participate in this transaction, they submit a subscription to the farmer and receive a box of seasonal produce each week. Local Harvest provides some information on CSA. This is a fun way to experiment with ingredients that are in season that you might not normally buy but come in your weekly box.
3. Find a local food restaurant: Ask around to see if there are any local food restaurants in your town. If you attend a farmer’s market, ask the farmers which restaurants they sell to. You can also try search engines like Organic Highways and Organic Kitchen to find local food restaurants in your area. It’s sometimes easier to find local food ice cream shops or hot dog stands but many cities are become more and more local-food friendly.
4. Grow it yourself: Plant some herbs, tomatoes, beans, sprouts, or berries. Growing your own produce is the most inexpensive way to get some local food. If you have an especially big backyard, you can even raise a few chickens and have a fresh omelet every morning.
So there you have it. Some basic tips to convert into a locavore. Start eating locally to help the environment, your stomach and your wallet!
James Kim is a writer for foodonthetable.com. Food on the Table is a company that provides online budget meal planning services. Their goal is to help families eat better and save money.