Top Ten Local Food Resources
Have you taken time to explore your local foodshed? Have you taken the locavore’s pledge, below?
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family Farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local Business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.
The term “foodshed” was coined almost 80 years ago in a 1929 book entitled How Great Cities Are Fed, to describe the flow of food from producer to consumer. Eight decades later, the term is now used to describe a food system that connects local producers with local consumers. This summer, explore and support your local foodshed with the help of these Top Ten Local Food Resources. In this list you will find ways to connect, reasons to connect, methods to preserve the bounty, tools for making sustainable food choices on the spot with iPhone apps, and tips for how your local foodshed can begin in your own backyard!
Local Harvest helps consumers learn about the various ways farmers get their food to market, whether through CSAs, farmers markets, pick-your-own farms, or co-ops—and then provides a national listing of these local food outlets. Just enter your zip code to find local food outlets near you. Local Harvest also lists produce protected by the Ark of Taste, a Slow Food project that documents endangered varieties, like Amish deer tongue lettuces! localharvest.org
The Sustainable Table is home to the Eat Well Guide and the award-winning Meatrix movies. The Eat Well Guide is a free, online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and other outlets in the United States and Canada. Consumers enter their zip or postal code to find wholesome products available locally or when traveling. sustainabletable.org
Eat Local Challenge
The Eat Local Challenge is a place to find inspiration and resources when the intention to eat local foods feels like an overwhelming commitment to conscious living. Its group blog, EatLocalChallenge.com, is written by authors who are interested in the benefits of eating food grown and produced in their local foodsheds. Spanning the United States, the group is committed to challenging themselves to eat mainly local food, which means mastering the art of seasonal eating. Read their stories and recipes, and share your own. eatlocalchallenge.com
Weston A. Price Foundation
The Weston A. Price Foundation is led by its president, Sally Fallon Morell, author of the seminal work, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition. This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains, but instead vital factors in a diet. They’re necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, maintaining optimum energy levels and protection from disease. Find a local Weston Price chapter (or start your own) for support and resources for local grass-fed meats. westonaprice.org
Slow Food USA
Slow Food is an international movement founded in Italy in 1986 to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and promote farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. Slow Food USA is a nonprofit organization working to create a just and sustainable food system. Slow Food USA has 225 volunteer-led chapters across the country, representing more than 150,000 members and advocates. The organization creates youth programs to bring the values of eating local, sustainable and just food to schools and campuses; preserves and promotes vanishing foods and food traditions; and advocates for food and farming policy that is good for the public, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet. Start or find a chapter at slowfoodusa.org.
Eatwild is your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork, dairy and other wild edibles. Here you will find comprehensive information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture as well as a directory of pasture-based farms in the U.S. and Canada. Eatwild is also the home of the book, Pasture Perfect: The Far-Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products from Grass-Fed Animals, by Jo Robinson. Eatwild.com
Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides
Use this iPhone app, from the Environmental Working Group, when scouring farmer’s markets. This handy guide will let you know which produce to buy organic, and which conventionally- grown fruits and vegetables are okay if organic isn’t available. You can also receive EWG’s e-mail updates, action alerts and environmental tips. Download the app for free at foodnews.org.
Do you want seafood to be a part of your sustainable food choices? At a time when the world’s oceans are severely overfished, your seafood choices make a big difference. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s iPhone application brings the latest Seafood Watch recommendations directly to your iPhone or iPod touch. This app lets you search for seafood by region. montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/ sfw_iPhone.aspx
Food Not Lawns
Think you need acres and acres to grow your own food? Think again! You local foodshed can begin in your own backyard with the wisdom and practical guidance from books like Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community and The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping: Home Landscaping with Edible Plants and Resource-Saving Techniques. Both are available online at Amazon.com. To start a local chapter of Food Not Lawns, visit them at foodnotlawns.net.
National Center for Home Food Preservation
Now that you have discovered the treasures of your local foodshed, how will you preserve it for winter months? Learn the lost arts of storing the harvest from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Learn to keep nutrient-dense, whole food for your family year-round with information on canning and freezing vegetables and fruits, which dehydrators are best for making fruit leathers, sun drying and vine drying, and specialty crafts, such as making meat jerkies and leathers. uga.edu/nchfp
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #26.
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