With the movement shifting towards more local, freshly-grown or cultivated produce landing on the table, it’s easy to give some love and awareness toward farmers. Healthy foods mean a more productive and longer life. By supporting organics, we also support the Earth that has given us so much.
Growing crops is to give back to both people and the Earth. However, farming is a serious life; there are many farmers that are barely making ends meet as it is. If you plan to support local farming, you should do it all the way. Here are ways on how you might do it.
Restaurants that support and use locally grown produce/Check
Restaurants always use fresh ingredients, but some of them go all the way. There are those that use locally grown vegetables and meat fresh from the farm, whether they source it from large- or small-scale farming operations. The Eat Well Guide as well as Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating are only some of the guides you can look to if you want to know which ones support local farmers. Alternatively, you can call restaurants to inquire whether they support local produce or not.
Pay attention to ALL your food/Check
Farmers grow crops and there are some popular food choices that always get the nod; asparagus, tomatoes, and wheat are only some of the crops that always feature. Humble pie crops like beans and mustard seeds don’t always get the nod, but rotation is required to always make the soil healthy and high-yield. Learn to eat those crops as well if you plan to support farmers all the way.
Rare here doesn’t mean a rare steak. What it means is to search for food which is considered native to your area. These are known as ‘heritage breeds’ and they differ from place to place, but are considered cheaper to race. If you want to plan a diet, include more of these local varieties than food that grows in other places. Doing so supports farmers whose budgets are mostly restricted they only have space for local produce.
Include fresh harvest in your menus/Check
This might be too much work, but it’s required if you want to make a difference in supporting your local farmers. As the seasons change, learn to shift your diet into seasonal crops to maximize buying local produce. For example, shift colder month crops like kale or beet greens when you cook pesto. If you want to create pasta for summer, substitute peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
The biggest support that you can give, though, is to volunteer your time to local farms. A local farm near you might need extra hands to support a large variety of tasks. Use your time wisely and you’ll find that you can grow your own food.
Perhaps the way to healthier, more affordable food is to go back to the basics. Farms are always in need of help; be aware of what is happening in your community and lend a hand or two. Doing this will go a long way in supporting local farms.