Photo (cc) by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
If your stomach is rumbling for a dinner made from fresh meat and produce grown locally, you’re not alone. Whether driven by nationwide food recalls, fear of GMOs, or simply a desire to eat healthier, Americans seem to have a growing hunger for locally grown foods.
A recent USDA report found that local farmers markets have grown by 180 percent since 2006. Farm-to-school programs and food hubs that link farmers to local restaurants and businesses have also more than tripled in just the last year alone.
The report said: “Growing interest in local foods in the United States is the result of consumer interest in environmental and community concerns (where community concerns include supporting local farmers and the local economy but also increasing access to healthful foods).”
With summer just around the corner, finding locally grown food is easier than ever.
According to MarketWatch, most communities have three good options for purchasing locally grown foods:
- Farmers markets. Popular for their produce, baked goods, eggs, cheese and flowers, Farmers markets are a great one-stop shop for local foods and goods. “Going to a farmers market today is about a lot more than buying produce or meeting the farmer, it’s about finding out how and where the foods are grown, seeing your neighbors, and, for those single millennials, looking for someone with similar values and food interests to spend the afternoon with,” said Phil Lempert, founder and editor of SupermarketGuru, a leading food and health resource. Click here to see a listing of farmers markets across the nation. Also, read this: “Liar Labels: Is That Farmers Market Food Really Local?”
- Food co-op. Retail food co-ops, which are independent, community-owned grocery stores, offer a number of products, from fresh produce, meat, seafood and deli items, to bakery items and other household staples. Find out if your area has a co-op by clicking here or here.
- Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA provides a more direct link to a local grower, MarketWatch said. To participate, you invest an upfront fee for a share of the farmer’s crop, before it’s been produced. Prices, which could be several hundred dollars a year, “are based on location, length of season, how much food you’re getting and other factors,” MarketWatch said. You typically get a box of fresh food a week, whatever crop the farmer has ready. An alternative to this is signing up with a farm-to-home online company, like Farmingo or Good Eggs.
Check out “7 Ways to Score Cheap Locally Grown Food.”
We often go to our local farmers market, but it doesn’t start until early July. My family also purchases locally grown and made food from our area Hutterite colonies, an ethno-religious group of German descent that raises its own livestock and produce, plus bakes and cans some other yummy foods. We also participate in BountifulBaskets.org, a food cooperative that delivers food items once a week to our rural area.
Where is your favorite place to purchase locally grown food? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page. Share this article with your Facebook friends. Bon appetit!