How to Buy Local Produce

A bean at a farmers' market travels an average of 101 miles from farm to plate—as compared to 866 miles at a grocery store. Buy local produce to get freshness, nutrition, and some very green beans.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Find markets Look in the local paper and ask around to find out where and when there are farmers’ markets in your area.
  • Step 2: Visit markets Visit the markets to see what produce is in season.
  • TIP: Carry your own cloth bags—or reuse plastic ones—to avoid using wasteful new packaging.
  • Step 3: Ask questions Ask farmers what fruits and vegetables are coming soon. Many markets offer other local products, such as eggs, cheese, honey, and even meat.
  • TIP: Join a Community Supported Agriculture farm, supported by individuals who pledge to pay for farming costs in return for delivery of fresh produce all season. Look online to find one in your area.
  • Step 4: Plan menus Plan your up-coming meals around the fresh local produce available now and in the coming weeks.
  • TIP: Newspapers and regional or food magazines often run seasonal food recipes, such as for local spring asparagus or summer tomatoes.
  • Step 5: Contact your grocery store Read the labels in your supermarket to determine where the produce comes from. If you can’t identify any that is local, contact the manager and ask whether they offer any—and let them know you’d buy it if it was available.
  • Step 6: Throw a party Throw a party or host a dinner that features only locally grown produce. Show your friends the advantages of buying local.
  • FACT: Small local farms often preserve open space, help maintain biodiversity, and use less water and pesticides than industrial agriculture.

You Will Need

  • A local farmers' market
  • A cloth bag or reused plastic bags
  • Membership in a local Community Supported Agriculture farm
  • A cookbook or food section from a newspaper

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