Sourcing local food has actually been more of a concern for us in 2018 than in past years. Typically, we grow most of what we eat. This year, however, we bought an old farm house in January, moved into the house at the beginning of March, and didn't have the opportunity to get ground ready for a sufficient garden. Because we truly believe in eating food grown locally, we've had to branch out into the community to find good food.
If you've ever moved to a new state, city, or community, you can identify with the daunting task of sourcing sustainably grown, responsibly farmed, healthy food for your family. I'd like to give you a few ways to begin your search.
One great way to find local farmers is to be a regular, committed customer at a couple of farmer's markets near where you live. While the number of farmer's markets is growing, some markets do allow vendors to sell produce that is NOT GROWN LOCALLY, so be SURE to ask questions at several farm booths.
You might want to ask more general questions first, such as, "Do you grow everything you sell?" Then you can move on to the more specific questions about things that are a concern for you. Be sure to spend time researching the farms and farmers with whom you entrust the well-being of your family, and develop relationships with farmers who have integrity.
A second way to find local farmers is to get connected to national networks such as Eat Wild
and Local Harvest . One USDA Local Food Directory lists farmer's markets all across the United States: Link
These networks can help you find farmers raising everything from meat animals to mushrooms.
A lesser know means of finding local food is through your state's Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Market Bulletin. In our Mississippi Market Bulletin I've found farmers selling beef, chicken, eggs, pick-you-own figs, blueberries, muscadines, as well as all the usual vegetables.
Finding locally grown food and developing relationships with farmers will be time consuming, but this time will be well spent when you and your family experience the health and well being garnered from the fresh, local foods you get to eat.