1) Explore your neighborhood
Not sure if you have a farm nearby? There’s only one way to find out for sure-- explore your surrounding community and see what you can find. Particularly in urban communities, farmers from nearby towns will often come and set up a farmer’s market to sell their goods. Farmer’s markets are usually open weekly or bi-weekly, and local farmers or homesteaders will set up a booth to sell all kinds of local products, from fruits and vegetables to honeys, jams and more. Look in your local newspaper or keep an eye out for signs around town advertising farmer’s markets near you.
Additionally, many neighborhoods are home to a CSA or grocery co-op that sells a variety of local products. They usually require members to pay a small fee for joining, but in return you receive a wide variety of locally grown food that can be delivered or purchased at your convenience. In addition to local produce, you can typically also find fresh meat, bread and dairy products at these stores. For consumers in urban areas, a CSA or grocery co-op can be the perfect way to buy fresh products grown in the surrounding community without traveling outside the city.
2) Utilize technology
There are hundreds of online resources available to help you find locally-grown products. One of our favorites is a site called Local Harvest, which allows you to use your zip code to find farms, farmer’s markets, CSAs, wholesale grocery stores and other sources of local food. A quick internet search for local food will bring up dozens of other websites that can help you find farms and local producers in your community.
Another technology that can help you find local food on the go is an app for your smartphone called Food Tripping. This app uses your phone’s location to find nearby restaurants, markets and grocery stores that use fresh, local and sustainable products. The Food Tripping app aims to offer consumers alternatives to fast food joints while on the road. It’s easy to use and offers options to search by name, category, popularity or location, so you can quickly discover exactly what you’re looking for.
3) Grow your own
No place is more local than your own backyard! If you find it difficult or expensive to access local products, try starting a small garden of your own to grow your favorite fruits and vegetables. Even for apartment dwellers or those with limited yard space, container gardens, rooftop gardens or vertical gardens offer a different spin on urban growing. Try starting with beans, peas, lettuce, cucumbers or zucchini, which are all fairly easy and common to grow in a home garden. Before you know it, you’ll be filling your kitchen with delicious, fresh produce that’s as local as it comes!