There’s lots of interest in being kind to our environment with recycling, using public transportation and laying off plastic bags at the grocery story. Here’s another way to put commitment into action. And, it tastes good! It’s buying fruits and vegetables that are grown locally and meats that are raised nearby.
This is the season to make a plan to eat local. Here are four ways you can:
- Buy a share of a farm’s produce through community-supported agriculture – CSA for short
- Visit farmers markets regularly
- Ask your supermarket manager to stock local produce
- Start your own garden
Community-supported agriculture – it is what it’s called
Typically, CSAs operate like this: you agree to pay a farm a fixed amount for a season. In return, you get a share, usually weekly, of in-season produce. Many farms will tell you what types of fruits and vegetables they’re growing so you get an idea of what you may get and even share recipes for how to prepare them.
CSAs come with some risks, though: bad weather that harms crops may mean your shares aren’t as large as you expect. And, some of the crops may not be ones you like or know how to prepare (kale was one of those once). Are you open to trying new foods? Risks aside, CSAs support local farmers and encourage sustainable agriculture. That’s good for everyone.
Even if you don’t sign up for a CSA share, Connecticut has dozens of farmers markets from spring through fall. They’re another way to support local farms.
Find CSAs and farmers markets:
Finding a CSA or farmers market near you is much easier than it used to be with the help of the internet. Here are some resources to get you started:
- Local Harvest – Find local food, anywhere in the country.
- Local Farmers Markets – Find a real farmers market, roadside stand, or farm stand near you!
- The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut – Find a crop or farm share in Connecticut.
- Connecticut Department of Agriculture – Lists CSAs, farmers markets, agricultural fairs and more.
Talk to your supermarket’s manager
Many Connecticut supermarkets support local farms by stocking their produce. If your supermarket doesn’t, talk to the manager. It may be that no one has expressed interest before. Then, support the market’s effort by picking up food from the displays marked as local.
Want to eat local by growing your own?
Not everyone’s born with a green thumb. Fortunately, there are local organizations that sponsor gardening classes.
- Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut – Lists many events, including how-to classes, and has links to local garden clubs, who may publish their own calendars of events
- 4-H Clubs of Connecticut – Look for a local club where children and teenagers can learn about agriculture.
Don’t have your own garden? Search online for “community gardens” near you.