Â photo byÂ USDAgov
This article also includes the best resources for finding each of these great food sources!
If you donâ€™t have the time, space, interest, or desire to grow all of your own food, then youâ€™re in luck! There are several options that will help you, your family, and your community. Â Now, Iâ€™m not going to go into a long diatribe about mass produced, long haul food. Â Just for arguments sake, Iâ€™m going to assume we all agree that buying food locally from farmers we know, and farms we could actually visit, is a pretty good thing.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
CSA farms have been around for over 25 years, but most people I talk to have never heard of them. Â Itâ€™s like the garden stock market; Â you buy shares with a local farmer and those shares stake your claim to a portion of the bounty. Â Each week of the season you will receive a box of farm fresh goodness. Â Some CSAs will make up a standard box for each share and some allow you to mix and match. Â They might even include eggs, meat, bread, fruit, flowers, cheese, honey, and other homemade items. Â Some will even deliver right to your door!
Just like the real stock market, you assume some of the risk, but itâ€™s worth it. Â You will know exactly who is growing your food, how itâ€™s being grown, and where it comes from. Â â€śSo you could almost say that itâ€™s my garden too, and I wouldnâ€™t have to even clean under my fingernails?â€ť Â Â Sure, why not.
Find a CSA near you:
These are worker, customer, or community owned grocery stores or buying groups that specialize in locally grown food. Â The quality and value from a Coop is normally very high and itâ€™s another way to know your food and help your community.
Find a Coop near you:
When most people think about buying local, they think about Farmersâ€™ Markets. Â Farmersâ€™ markets have been around for as long as there have been farmers and they are still one of the best ways to buy local. Â This is where the farmer sells directly to the public… direct marketing 101. Â By cutting out all the middlemen (distributors, packagers, marketers, retailers, storage, transportation…etc) both the farmer and consumer can win on price.
Find a Farmersâ€™ Market near you:
Youâ€™ve seen the signs… â€śU-Pick Strawberries $1.50/poundâ€ť or â€śPick Your Own Raspberriesâ€ť along with a huge arrow pointing you down a dirt road. Â Ok, Ok, I guess you have to get your hands dirty a little with this one or you can just make your kids do all the work. Â Either way, itâ€™s fun, cheap, and itâ€™s as fresh as it gets.
Find a U-Pick near you:
These are basically a farmersâ€™ market of one family, or in my neck of the woods, itâ€™s usually a couple teenagers and a pickup truck filled with fresh picked corn. Â I canâ€™t help you with a resource for finding these, but they are usually at the same place, and around the same time each year.
Which of these ways have you used to buy local? Â Please Â share your whats and whys below.