What is the easiest way to make sure the food you purchase hasn’t hurt anyone or anything? Know where your food comes from. Buying local is a recent movement that consumers are initiating. Seems crazy considering everything we bought was locally grown or raised. Imagine if you had to live off what was grown and raised around where you lived. In today’s society, this is a challenging idea, but if we learn about how we could make an effort to move towards buying locally it could make strides to improving our town’s economy and overall health.
So, Why Buy Local? Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.
There are many ways to find local products, or even grow your own. One great way to grow produce no matter where you live is to participate in community gardening. It involves using a single plot of land gardened by a group of people. It is a great to grow food for yourself and also instills a sense of community with others who grow in the garden. In Boone, North Carolina there is one Leola Street that is just starting its preparations for the growing season this month. You can visit http://acga.localharvest.org/ to find a registered community garden in your area, or go to http://communitygarden.org/learn/starting-a-community-garden.php to learn how to start your own community garden.
Another way people get local products is visiting farmer’s markets. They have individual vendors—mostly farmers—who set up booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, to sell produce, meat products, fruits and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. They are usually scheduled for once or twice a week in a consistent spot with temporary booths. In Boone there is one on Wednesday at Horn In the West. You can visit www.localharvest.org to find your closest market.
A lot of grocery stores often have sections reserved for their locally grown products. Keep an eye out for all opportunities to buy from your local area, you won’t regret it.