“Supporting local food production is so much healthier for people. It’s better for the local economy, and it’s a lot of fun.”Jack Johnson
Having grown up on a small hobby farm, I developed a taste for the finer things. The “finer things” being treats like sugar snap peas right off the vine, fresh steaks, and an unending supply of tomatoes all summer long.
Unfortunately, I lack the time and the patience it takes to grow my own vegetables, and I lack the space for raising farm animals. Worse, my parents can’t fully support my husband’s and my appetites on top of feeding their own household.
Since I grew up and had to resort to buying my groceries, I quickly began following a rule that has served me well so far.
Buy your food locally, whenever possible.
1. You’ll Know Where It Came From
For 22 weeks each year, Hubs and I participate in a local farm’s CSA (community-supported agriculture).
At the start of the season, we pay a flat rate for our produce and egg “shares; then, each week we simply stop by the farm, grab our bag of food and carton of eggs, and head home with them!
We buy most of our meat from my parents, and what we don’t get from them, we get from our favorite local butcher shop.
Part of why we buy all our food locally (and from family), is that we know exactly where it came from. We can see the vegetables growing, we can watch the animals living a happy, healthy, free-range life, and we can see the clean counter-tops that the meat is being cut on.
If there is ever a question about our food, we know exactly who to ask and have faith that the answer will be accurate.
2. Your Food Will Always be Fresh
Did you know that some produce in the grocery store could be over a year old?
Buying directly from the farmer who grew it means you could be buying produce that was harvested that very morning.
3. You May Make a Friend or Two
Heading to a local farm or butcher shop likely means you’re walking into a small operation. The owner will probably be around and available for questions, and if you show up around the same time each week, you’ll probably find yourself running into the same customers often. It’s easy to pick up a conversation and find yourself with some new friends.
4. You’ll Likely Try Something New
This is especially true if you participate in a CSA. You never know what may show up in your weekly box of produce, and may have to get the creative juices flowing to find recipes that include the ingredients you’ve come home with.
5. You’ll Support Your Local Economy
By shopping locally for as many groceries as possible, you are supporting your neighbors. You’re helping send someone’s kid to college, or to finally save up for a down payment on a house. When you put money into your own neighborhood, you get to see it in action, and it feels good.
6. You May Even Save Some Money
Often, when you buy directly from the farmer who raised the meat or grew the vegetables, the ultimate price you pay winds up being lower than it would be from the grocery store because there are fewer hands from the ground to your table.
Support a Farmer
By supporting your local farmers and butcher shops, your grocery shopping may take a little longer, but it’s worth it!
You’ll always know where your food came from, who grew it, and how fresh it is. You’ll have opportunities to make new friends, try new foods, and support hard-working people in your own community.
On top of all that, you may even save a couple bucks. I buy my groceries locally whenever possible, and I’ve never regretted it!