Why and How
Buying from local farms provides the unmatched freshness and supports your local community. The best way to preserve farmland in your region is to buy farm products from your local farmers. It keeps them farming the land.
Joan from One Straw Farm, a presenter at the 2007 PASA conference, said, "I wouldn't travel a thousand miles to go to dinner, why should my dinner travel a thousand miles to get to me?"
Buying local is the latest craze, gaining even more popularity than organic. "Locavore" was selected as the prominent Word of the Year in 2007 by the Oxford Press, the dictionary folks. Locavore Announcement. Time Magazine featured the topic on the front page of its March 2, 2007 edition, by John Cloud, called "Eating Better Than Organic". "Eating Better than Organic". This article is a good read. Before I read the article, I only saw the cover page--a photo of an apple with a sticker that says "Forget Organic. Eat Local." That's completely misleading unless you read the article and find that John prioritizes organic highly, contemplates it, and chooses local organic first. Organic is not dismissed; its carefully considered. In certain circumstances, such as the tricky production of fruit in New York's humidity, he prefers a fresh conventional product grown in his community to a well-travelled big business organic one. He prioritizes taste and freshness over organic, but is disappointed to have to make that concession.
Too many of those debates have simplified the issue--local vs. organic--as if you can't often have both. These debates have been popular without first praising the many ways to have the best of both local and organic. But its an interesting exercise of the mind in a time when you can buy agri-industrial organic salad mix from across the country, or highly processed frozen foods that are organic. There are many issues involved, including fossil fuel dependency of weary well travelled produce, loss of freshness and possibly also vitamin content of produce picked before its prime to endure long travel.
John says "I would still rather know the person who collects my eggs or grows my lettuce or picks my apples than buy 100% organic eggs or lettuce or apples from an anonymous megafarm at the supermarket." (John Cloud, Time Magazine cover article, March 2, 2007). The choices are growing more and more complicated as organic options become more global and industrial.
Read this article, as well as Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma for a more thorough conversation about local versus organic and what's involved. Learn the issues to make your best decisions. How? See the link for Books to Read.
Here's a blog all about eating locally, by a woman named Jen. I don't know Jen, but I like what she's working on here. Eat Local Challenge
And her list of Ten Reasons to Eat Locally
Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal Vegetable Miracle, published in May 2007. about her family's local challenge, to focus a year's time eating as much as possible from their local Virginia community.
Field to Plate is Amanda Archibald's website, bringing your plate closer to the field that fills it. Because it tastes better, that's why. There is a lot to learn from Field to Plate in detail and inspiration. Amanda is a member of House in the Woods CSA.
Shop at local farms. See our CSA Links page for local farms and ways to find them.
Join a CSA.
Find a CSA Near You Local Harvest
Frederick County offers a brochure of some Frederick farms called the Farm Guide. Its all accessible info, including info on their Family Farm Day in the fall, at Frederick Farmers Markets-Shop at a Farmers Market or directly at a Frederick Farm near you
Shop at your local natural foods stores, ideally a cooperative.The Common Market is Frederick's best.