6 simple ways to support local food and farms Tips and tricks of local SUSTAINABILITY

Whether you are new to the local food scene, or you’ve been buying from your neighborhood farmers market for years, you’re making a big difference in the lives of small farmers and food distributors. But the food system is complicated. It’s not always clear how to spend your resources—whether to invest time or money—to best support your local food system.

So we’ve compiled six tips to make it even easier for you to support local food producers.

1. Shop at farmers markets

Farmers markets aren’t a new thing, but they have become much more visible and plentiful in many areas in recent years. Variety is the spice of life, so don’t limit yourself to staples you’ve eaten a thousand times. Farmers at the markets offer a diversity of fruits and vegetables and often provide recipes, or share easy ways to prepare foods with which you may not be so familiar. Local Markets in Columbus, Mill Spring, and Saluda, North Carolina and their schedules are available at www.growrural.org . With Winter's fast approach farmers markets head indoor, starting December 2nd and going through March. You can find all your local produce and product needs at 322 E Mills St. Columbus,NC 28722. Check out the Columbus Farmers Market and growrural.org for more information.

2. Join a CSA

Buy your Community Supported Agriculture share to ensure you get the freshest picks every week. Farm Fresh CSAs are accepting winter share orders, contact Mike Odle at compostsaveslives@gmail.com.

3. Eat at farm-to-table restaurants and cafés

Planning a birthday dinner or a special date night? Choose farm-to-table restaurants. You may pay a little more, but your purchase will help local farmers continue to provide food for their community. Check out http://growrural.org/localfood/ for a highlight of local food..

4. Help farmers market themselves

When it comes to the busy life no profession requires the amount of time and dedication than farming. Help your local farmers, by spreading you experience with there produce or even a farm visit. Word of mouth in local community goes along way!

5. Frequent your local grocer instead of chain supermarkets

Smaller grocers are the middle men that make local foodstuffs available to you every day of the week. Often, they sell value-added products such as cheese, jams and jellies, canned goods, and salsas that may not be available at the weekend markets. At the very least, let the big players know you’d like to see more local options on their shelves. Ingles and IGA support local farmers by carrying different varieties of local produce. Local isn’t just a fad—it’s an economic force—and management knows that.

6. Check out local gardening stores for seeds, soil, garden plants and supplies

Ready to start growing some of your own food? Fantastic. Frequent the local garden shop instead of the big home improvement stores for soil, pots, seeds, starter plants, compost teas and organic fertilizers. These stores are usually family-owned, so employees will have more time to give you personal attention and gardening tips. Mill Spring Farm Store offers local produce right in your community come check them out. Can't make it today?Like them out on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/Mill-Spring-Farm-Store-592394777496710/

What other ways do you support local food endeavors? Let GRO know in the comments.


Created with images by Agence Producteurs Locaux Damien Kühn - "Farming Potatoes" Article from SeedStock;March 7, 2016; Author Davina van Buren

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