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Eat Local – 5 Easy Ways to Find Locally Grown Food

Eat local. It seems like everywhere I turn lately, I hear about the importance of eating more local food. It’s fresher and therefore healthier.  It requires less transportation and therefore is better for the environment. Even though I live in rural Vermont, eating locally can be a challenge sometimes.  Ideally, I’d love to be a localvore and eat food only within 100 miles of where I live. That can be extremely challenging especially in the colder months when we don’t really grow anything here except for snow and frost heaves. Here are five fairly easy ways to find locally grown foods that you should be able to use no matter where you live.

1.  Grow it yourself –  Even if you aren’t a gardener and don’t have room for a big vegetable garden, you can still grow a pot of herbs on your windowsill or a bucket of tomatoes in the front yard or even on a fire escape provided you have a fair amount of sun. If you don’t get a lot of sun, try lettuce instead.

Eat local

2.  Harvest wild edibles – There are many things that grow outside that we think of as weeds that are actually edible. Even if you live in the city, your local park should at least have dandelions for dandelion greens and nettles. If you’re interested in harvesting wild edibles, please get a good guide book or take a class and be certain you know what you’re eating.  In my area, I find quite a variety of wild edibles including ramps and fiddlehead ferns.

3.  Check smaller stores & tourist areas for local wares – Our grocery store has a section where they sell only Vermont made products.  Just a few things that I find there including maple syrup, honey, crackers from a local business and bread from a local gluten free bakery. What you find will vary depending on what’s typically grown in your area or what your state is known for.

Eat local

4.  Pick your own – We have a number of pick your own berry farms.  We also have a pick your own apple orchard and even a potato farm where we can pick our own.  This site has a listing of pick your own farms in every state. Take the kids and make a day of it.

5.  Look for local farms and farmers markets – We don’t have a huge vegetable garden any longer. As our trees get bigger, the amount of sunshine we gets shrinks.  It’s easier for me to purchase our veggies from a local farmer’s market.  We also have area farmers that sell grass fed beef, all natural pork, and raw milk.  What you have in your area will depend on your location and the laws in your state.  Check Local Harvest for a list in your area. They even have a listing of restaurants!

While I may not be able to completely eat local in everything that I do, there are a number of steps I can take to bring more local food into our diets. We choose maple syrup from our trees over white sugar when possible.  I grow herbs and a number of fruits on our property instead of buying everything from the grocery store.  I know how to identify and prepare a few wild edibles (I make a mean fiddlehead fern quiche).  We get eggs from our ducks and chickens and when possible buy local grass fed beef. Have you taken any steps to eat local?

About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media.

Comments

  1. I love tip #1 – Grow it yourself, it is is very easy to grow veggies. I should know I am a horrible gardener, but still manage to keep alive an herb garden and fresh lettuce all summer.

  2. Great tips! We have a weekly farmers market in town every Friday evening. It’s great!

  3. I would love to find out what “weeds” are around we could eat. I started to once before. I need to get back to that.

  4. I would eat local more IF there was more organic produce.  I see crop dusters flying overhead all the time and it makes me cringe to think of what they are putting on the food I could possibly be eating.

  5. I love our local farmer’s market and have found a nearby farmer for our beef and pork. I love knowing where my food comes from!

  6. Our local farmers market is a joke…better off eating the plastic wrap on “store bought” produce – LOL
    We do have a small garden, and I’m really enjoying my fresh picked tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers.  
    We had so many choices for purchasing local, before we moved to the state we are in now.  I really really miss that.

  7. I’m really glad to be a new follower on your blog! I found you through giveaways (my guilty pleasure) but it seems we have SO much in common….including this! We grow and can from our summer garden every year, get berries from the woods for jellies, hunt and freeze game on our land for meat, and network with other locals in our area to swap and share! I hunt the local markets and sellers more for inspiration on canning recipes and such! We’re a young family (I’m 31 YO) and I’m please to tell you that I have many friends that are doing the same. If not our generation, than very likely our childrens, will have to rely on these things one day and they are becoming a lost art :(. Thanks for the post!

  8. Karen Monteith says:

    Hi Ellen
    I am new to your site and like it very much. Very informative. I am a Canadian and have an organic veggie garden that I have cultivated for 23 years so far. I love to preserve and to dry food. I am always attracted to like minded people and to searching for eco-friendly information. I found you on twitter. I always love anything made by hand! I am so happy to have found your site. Karen Monteith

    • Ellen Christian says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Karen! I’m glad to *meet* you. It’s always great to connect with like minded bloggers!

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