#4 Shop at local farms or farmers’ markets
May 1 is not only May day and a time to deliver May baskets, but the date that farmers and other vendors move back outside to the many farmers’ markets in the Capital Region. You can find a long list of Farmers Markets here
But we are also developing a new feature on this website that will allow you to see on a map the local farms, markets, producers of food products, restaraunts and so on. Each one will have information on the business and contact information - See Find Local Food. Please help by providing local food sourses in your area.
Local food usually costs more at the farm or the market, mainly because it is of higher quality, fresher, and planted, cultivated and harvested by manpower rather than machine power. It is so very important to support the local farmers who are using sustainable practices. It is important to have food available from nearby, but it is equally important that we care for the land. Soil that is replenished with natural amendments, like ground stone, compost and organic mulch, will produce nutritious fruits and vegetables indefinitely. When a farmer cares for and protects the soil, the life within the soil (all the microbes – bacteria, fungus, worms, insects and animals that keep the soil fertile) multiples and feeds and cares for the plants. Buying local also keeps your money “at home” to be spent for other local needs. It keeps the local economy healthy.
Money seems a strange topic when talking about local farms and markets. Money is so important to most people and carefully managed. If you can buy food for less money, it seems a reasonable choice. Saving the few dollars on a meal has much further reaching effects than financial ones. Organically grown meat, fruits and vegetables are an investment in your health. The superior taste and nutrition makes meal time a special time of gratitude and peace. The love that raised the food, the love that purchased the food, the love that prepared the food and put it on the table, is the love that you and your family will be taking in. When cheap food, purchased from huge agri-business companies, is eaten what is taken in is greed and desire for profit.
So what does all this have to do with energy and saving fossil fuels? There are the obvious things like minimal packaging (none if you bring containers and bags) and lower transportation costs. There are also savings in the amount and types of fertilizers and pesticides. Production of farm equipment and processing machinery also have deep energy costs. Local food is produced and picked by people – people are very sustainable. The farmers also use and reuse their baskets and boxes and … It is worth the conservation because it allows them to charge less and/or make a slightly higher profit.
The soil, the people, the community and you are all served well by buying locally. Build relationships with the people who provide your food and that, too, will nourish you.