Local Food is Community
Supporting our local food system is essential to our community’s survival. The bigger the farms get, the less farmers there are because they’ve been replaced with machines or a bio-tech scientist. These large farms to tend grow until they’ve depleted all that land of it’s resources. They’re in the business to make money, not because they are passionate about feeding people food full of nutrients. No matter how big or small a farm, small farmers see their farm as less of a business and more as a way of life.
Although this isn’t always the case, small family farms are more likely to keep our water pure and the soil healthy. It is easier to diversify and stay in-tune with nature with a small farm. Less acreage means the small-scale farmers has more time to devote to doing things right for each acre they have. They also care about the land and the people they feed because they’re in direct contact with it everyday, instead of in the lab or in an off-site location. To keep that from happening, we have to consistently support our local, small farms.
This past week, I posted 10 Reasons to Support Local Farms. This week we will explore how.
How to Support Local Farmers
- Choose restaurants that source foods locally and support workers.
Get your Guide to Buying Local Food in Oklahoma for a free printable for businesses that sell local produce in Oklahoma!
- Embrace biodiversity.
Find out which foods are your region’s specialties and try those rarer varieties. Instead of factory-farmed Broad Breasted White turkeys, for instance, find a heritage breed unique to your area and discover a wonderful array of new flavors. Choosing local varieties is not only good for the local food system, but also helps preserve genetic diversity.
- Look for local brands in stores, and ensure that local products stay on the shelves—and may lead to grocers stocking even more options.
- Make suggestions.
If your local supermarkets don’t stock locally-sourced foods, ask. Tell your friends to ask, too. Store owners want to provide customers with in-demand products, and respond well to consumer suggestions. If there is enough call for local products, owners will be more likely to bring these items into stores.
- Plan your menus around what’s being harvested.
Even if everything you buy isn’t produced in your community, you still contribute to the local food system by building seasonal foods into your recipes. In colder months, swap the heat-loving basil in pesto for a winter green like kale or beet greens. Switch the peppers, zucchini and tomatoes in your summertime pasta primavera for broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in fall.
- Volunteer. Many small-scale farms can use a little extra help with a variety of tasks around the property. Volunteering at a local farm can enable you to learn more about your local agriculturalist and the work they do every day, while building lasting relationships and giving back to your local food system.
Download, your free printable guide to buying locally grown food in Oklahoma Here!
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