Sunday, February 27, 2005

Buy fresh, buy local.

My father raises longhorn cattle in Marianna, Arkansas, mostly for fun but occasionally for food. I don't usually eat beef (or any mammals, for that matter), but I'm looking forward to having some of the beef from my father's farm. Why the exception? I know how the animals are treated. They have room to roam, (even jumping the fence when they want to explore more, much to the annoyance of my father), and they're not given growth hormones, non-grain food, or other compounds that make me mistrustful of commercial meat.

Buying locally produced food is a good way to strengthen your local economy, support family farms, protect the environment and your health, and enjoy fresher, better-tasting food. Here are three sites to get you started:

* USDA farmersmarket list and information

You can find locally produced food in the following places. Just click the links to find a map of farms or markets all over the US. Enter your zip code for the ones nearest you.

* "Farmer's markets are a very convenient way to purchase local goods. Producers from around the area will bring their produce to a centralized location on a periodic basis throughout the growing season."

* "Community sponsored agriculture is an arrangement or partnership made between community members and a particular local farm. In a CSA farm, consumers can purchase seasonal “shares” which entitle them to weekly food allowances. Shareholders visit the farm or another pickup location at a scheduled time every week to get their food."

* "Food cooperatives are member-owned retail businesses dedicated to serving the community by providing the highest quality grocery items at the best value." I like Sevananda in Atlanta.

* "Farm stands and on-farm markets give you the opportunity to purchase goods directly from farmers at their own independent locations."

* "U-pick farms give consumers the unique opportunity to harvest their own produce." When Kwadjo and I went to Florida last month, we picked oranges from a U-pick farm that were the best I've ever tasted.

* You may even find local food in some restaurants or supermarkets, or you can join a food-buying club to buy food with friends.

Growing up in Little Rock, my mother and grandmother regularly bought food from Mr. Bosley, who traveled through the neighborhood selling local produce from his truck. It was a wonderful service that is rapidly disappearing. But thankfully, we all can still get locally produced food. Local food is better food, for everybody. Enjoy some today!


DatFuule said...

Always better than "store bought." I never had store bought pecans until I was late into my 20's, and the difference is remarkable.

Karama said...

Yeah, I agree. There's something very nice about your cousin's, or neighbor's or friend's pecans. Yet another perk of growing up in the Mid-South. Thanks for stopping by Dat Fuule. Come back soon!

Karama said...

I may do a separate post on this later, but for now, this just in from


Of the many causes of hunger, "food redlining" might be the most common -- and the most overlooked. Find out how corporate grocers make it harder for low-income families to find healthy, affordable food. Read how one lower-income town fought back -- and won.

Karama said...

And here are ten more things you can do.