Thank you to James Kim from Food on the Table for this guest post.
Eating local aids the environment by preserving farmland and minimizing air pollution while also providing you with more nutritious and fresher eats. So how can you go local in your meal planning? Here are some ways to get started.
Plain and simple: shop at a farmers’ market. Here, you can ask the person who has nurtured, grown, and harvested your food anything you want to know. You can ask about fertilizers, pesticides (if any), and farming techniques (do they use an “organic system plan?”). Find a farmers’ market near you by using the farmers’ market search engine on the USDA website.
Know Your Seasons
One big step towards going local? Learn which food items are in season. This shopping method may be easy to practice, but it can make a huge difference to the environment by cutting miles out of food’s travel time. Smart Living gives a list of seasonal foods for each state. Learn which foods are in season in your region and only shop by season!
Local Food Producers
Help your local economy by buying local foods from artisans in your area, like bakeries, butcheries, and coffeehouses. This not only helps the environment (again, less travel time from the farm to your plate) but it also keeps the local economy strong and healthy. (Editor’s note: Also consider learning more about purchasing your food through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) by visiting the USDA website or Local Harvest.)
Going local is really about becoming more knowledgeable about your community and your food. Take a tour of a local farm or explore local food restaurants. Always ask questions about where your food is coming from. Indulge your curiosity!
So what are you waiting for? Start going local today by visiting a farmers market, memorizing seasonal food items, buying from local food producers, or visiting a local farm. Do something good for not only the environment, but your stomach too.
Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.