5 Ways To Eat Locally Grown Food Without Even Getting Your Hands Dirty

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Farmers Market photo by USDAgov

This article also includes the best resources for finding each of these great food sources!

 

If you don’t have the time, space, interest, or desire to grow all of your own food, then you’re in luck! There are several options that will help you, your family, and your community.  Now, I’m not going to go into a long diatribe about mass produced, long haul food.  Just for arguments sake, I’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.  It’s like the garden stock market;  you buy shares with a local farmer and those shares stake your claim to a portion of the bounty.  Each week of the season you will receive a box of farm fresh goodness.  Some CSAs will make up a standard box for each share and some allow you to mix and match.  They might even include eggs, meat, bread, fruit, flowers, cheese, honey, and other homemade items.  Some will even deliver right to your door!

 

Just like the real stock market, you assume some of the risk, but it’s worth it.  You will know exactly who is growing your food, how it’s being grown, and where it comes from.  “So you could almost say that it’s my garden too, and I wouldn’t have to even clean under my fingernails?”   Sure, why not.

 

Find a CSA near you:

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

http://www.wilson.edu/about-wilson-college/fulton/robyn-van-en-center/csa-search/index.aspx

http://www.eatwellguide.org

 

Food Coops

These are worker, customer, or community owned grocery stores or buying groups that specialize in locally grown food.  The quality and value from a Coop is normally very high and it’s another way to know your food and help your community.

 

Find a Coop near you:

http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm

http://www.localharvest.org/food-coops/list.jsp

 

Farmers’ Markets

When most people think about buying local, they think about Farmers’ Markets.  Farmers’ markets have been around for as long as there have been farmers and they are still one of the best ways to buy local.  This is where the farmer sells directly to the public… direct marketing 101.  By cutting out all the middlemen (distributors, packagers, marketers, retailers, storage, transportation…etc) both the farmer and consumer can win on price.

 

Find a Farmers’ Market near you:

http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/default.aspx

http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

http://www.eatwellguide.org

 

U-Pick

You’ve seen the signs… “U-Pick Strawberries $1.50/pound” or “Pick Your Own Raspberries” along with a huge arrow pointing you down a dirt road.  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.  Either way, it’s fun, cheap, and it’s as fresh as it gets.

 

Find a U-Pick near you:

http://www.pickyourown.org/

 

Farm Stands

These are basically a farmers’ market of one family, or in my neck of the woods, it’s usually a couple teenagers and a pickup truck filled with fresh picked corn.  I can’t help you with a resource for finding these, but they are usually at the same place, and around the same time each year.

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Which of these ways have you used to buy local?   Please  share your whats and whys below.

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Co-Founder of NutritionGeeks, retired USAPL drug-free powerlifter, volunteer youth wrestling coach, father of 3 amazing boys and interested in all things health

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