As we all struggle with the new reality of social distancing, we are discovering new ways to create a sustainable and healthy world. In anticipation of possible interruptions in the global food distribution system, people are beginning to plant their food or expand their gardening efforts. But for many of us, we lack the land, knowledge, and infrastructure to feed our families completely. Establishing relationships and sourcing food from local farmers can be an ideal solution on many levels. Many local farmers are struggling right now due to the shut-down of local restaurants and farmer’s markets. By purchasing food directly from them, you help keep your local economy strong, reduce your carbon footprint, and build a healthier community. Not to mention that locally grown food tastes better, often has higher nutritional content, and is much lower in chemicals and pesticides.

“Find the shortest, simplest way between

the earth, the hands, and the mouth.”

-Lanza Del Vasto

WHY BUY LOCAL FOOD

By purchasing locally grown food and plants, we help support local farmers and businesses. Many local growers use sustainable and regenerative practices that reduce toxic chemicals and increase micronutrients in our diet. Our planet benefits from these practices because of less pollution to water and air and improved soil health.

Locally produced food and garden products significantly reduce carbon emissions by cutting down transportation emissions and energy used for refrigeration or freezing. The average distance a vegetable from the grocery store travels to arrive on your plate is 1500 miles, according to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). Produce shipped for these long distances is often picked unripe. Some foods are highly processed in factories using preservatives or other means to render it stable. Then they are ripened through gassing upon arrival.

WE ALL BENEFIT WHEN BUYING LOCAL FOOD

If buying local foods and plants for your gardens is a new concept to you, now is a good time to notice and focus on supporting our local farms and food businesses. We all benefit by choosing local – each of us, our local farmers and producers, and our community as a whole.

Here are some suggestions for supporting our local producers:

· If your local farmers market is open during COVID-19, purchase eggs, meat, cheese, produce, and condiments from the farmers who are selling there. Follow the social distancing practices that are in place at these local markets.

· Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm and receive a weekly box of produce throughout the season – or share a box with a friend.

· Purchase flowers, vegetable, and herb starts from a local nursery

· Plant a garden, or a pot with edibles and flowers

· Shop at a food coop or local grocery that supplies locally grown food

· Purchase local, pasture-raised meat

We invite you to contribute to a more resilient and sustainable future by supporting your local food farmers.