Supporting local food means supporting your local community. And it tastes good, too.
Here are 10 Ways You Can Support Local Food Right Now:
1. Buy Directly from a Farmer
Farmers’ Markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), roadside stands, and You-Pick farms are great ways to purchase fresh local food and support local producers.
2. Eat at Restaurants That Use Local Food
The farm to table movement is in full swing across North Carolina. Choose restaurants that are invested in this movement and enjoy quality food prepared in thoughtful ways. Find a list of restaurants that are committed to sourcing 10 Percent or more seasonal, local ingredients from N.C. Farms here.
3. Ask Your Local Grocery Store to Sell More Local Products
Next time you’re at the store, ask a manager what kind of local products they sell. If the answer is “none,” encourage them to change that! If you are a grower or a store owner interested in learning more about how to get local food into grocery stores, check out this link.
4. Buy Locally-Made Products at Your Grocery Store
Once your grocery store supports local products, it’s important to support them. Seek out the local foods section and discover new delights.
5. Plan Meals Around What’s In Season
Meal-planning around seasonal produce celebrates food at the peak of freshness. You might find new produce, seafood, and meat to love, too. Here are some resources to help you prepare local food.
6. Tell Your Friends About Your Favorite Food Producers
After developing relationships with your favorite farmers, share their stories. Without big marketing budgets, farmers still rely on word-of-mouth to stay in business. Many producers have a social media presence; make sure to follow them and repost on Facebook and Instagram to help spread the word.
7. Grow Your Own Produce
Nothing makes you appreciate local food more than growing it yourself. You can even buy local seeds and starters! Learn how to garden at home or with a community garden through Cooperative Extension, and connect with other community gardeners through the NC Community Garden Partners.
8. Tell Local Institutions to Support Local Food
Hospitals, schools and local governments all have huge food demands. Ask them to work with your local Food Council to source that food locally. Resources for school gardens: Farm to School , Farm to School Coalition of NC
9. Become an Advocate
Learn about the food and farm issues in your community, attend local board meetings and raise awareness of any opportunities and concerns, and build relationships with your local decision makers to recommend changes.
10. Join Your Local Food Council
There are local Food Councils across North Carolina. Join one today and learn about even more ways to get involved.