Thursday, July 16, 2009

Your Local Harvest

Local Harvest at is just one of the tools Tastebuds really
believes in. When we need a locally raised free range hog for our barbecue, finding one is just a click away. Anyone in the United States may log on to their website, enter their zip code, and pull up local farmers who are registered with Local Harvest. Easy to decipher color coding tells you what the farm's main focus is, whether it be a general farm, farmer's market, restaurant, or grocery. It's a great resource for traveling too, as you can plug in your destination, and within seconds find those places you wish to visit to buy local foods, flowers, and even livestock. Reviews are included on the site, but as with anything on the web, keep an open mind as anyone with a keyboard can post their opinions.

In Local Harvest's own words, they say "The best organic food is what's grown closest to you. Use our website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies." There have been numerous recent studies that suggest that buying local may in fact be even more important to the environment than buying organic if that food has had to be shipped from a long distance. The benefit of organic can be overshadowed by the carbon footprint of shipping the produce to your local retailer. Compound that with the lack of enforcing certain organic standards outside of the United States and it is easy to see why trusting your local grower may be the way to go. The site also offers up links to harvest Blogs which can be a very good source of information, not to mention a glimpse into a very uplifting way of life that so many farmers have managed to create on their farms.

Local Harvest has this to say about buying from your local producer.
"People worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of buying local food. It is fresher than anything in the supermarket and that means it is tastier and more nutritious. It is also good for your local economy--buying directly from family farmers helps them stay in business." Truer words were perhaps never spoken. In a world of mass wholesalers, it is becoming increasing more difficult for small farms to survive. They cannot afford a large advertising budget, and without sites such as Local Harvest, you may never even be given the opportunity to know that they exist. There have been numerous times that I have logged on to the site looking for something specific only to find that a farm was less than a twenty minute drive away.

Holidays are wonderful times to discover your local farm. From farm raised organic pumpkins to a free range turkey for Thanksgiving, a special outing to your local acres can be an exciting family adventure. You may discover new varieties of vegetables or rare breeds of animals because a lot of these farms are much more interested in quality crops and flocks than they are interested in quantity and economy of price.

Nearly two million farms are in production in the United Sates. Roughly eighty percent of these are small farms, and a great number of these are family owned. More and more of these farmers are now selling their products directly to the public as they see the price on larger markets continue to fall. They accomplish this direct selling through CSA programs, Farmers' Markets, Food Coops, U-picks, farm stands, and other direct marketing channels. Little argument can be made that large scale conventional agriculture is harming our soils and our water, and therefore not a good thing for our communities. By buying direct from a family farm you can help put a stop to this unhealthy trend.
If more of us would buy organic produce from our local farmers, it would go a long way towards working to maintain a healthy environment, a colorful community, and a strong and sustainable local economy for ourselves and our children to thrive in.

No comments:

Post a Comment