Grow Your Food Security
Numerous organizations offer farm listings and resources to help navigate your food journey to more seasonal and farm-fresh cuisine wherever you call home.
It’s true: Wal-Mart sells more organic foods than any other company in the world. They sell more of everything – most of which is grown, produced or made from somewhere other than the community in which it’s sold. Due to the popularity of the localvore movement in the U.S., some companies have proclaimed that their “local products” are from somewhere on the North American Continent. Impressed yet, or disturbed?
Where did we get this notion that we can’t, or shouldn’t buy things from our neighbors, from people within our community? It’s as if all those air miles somehow make what you buy more valuable. True, imported from Europe still promises a certain quality for certain things; for one, it’s a way to minimize GMOs in your food (besides buying them certified organic) since many GMO crops are banned outside the U.S.
A hundred years ago, we were friends with the butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Neighbors, even. Today, many of us separate out our friends from the people, or should we say corporations, that we depend on for our next meal. We find our friends on Facebook, they watch our house when we’re away, or we exchange cookies with them during the holidays. Our farmers, those people entrusted, literally, with our health and well being with the foods they grow, who are they? Where do they live?
After all the E. coli outbreaks and recalled hamburger – made not from one cow but hundreds as Michael Pollan likes to say – more of us have rediscovered the power that comes from supporting a thriving local food scheme by buying local, eating local and becoming friends, again, with the people who grow or produce our food. If you’re going to eat a hamburger, you might as meet the herd or at least the farmer who is in charge of its care.
Making such connections couldn’t be easier. Look to these national non-profit organizations listed below to help hone in on great tasting, fresh foods near you. Many of the farmers and growers featured by these organizations have Facebook pages, too.
In the end, you’ll need to determine what makes the most sense to you in terms of how you define local, sustainable food, certified organic or otherwise. Since we live where our neighbors grow what we like to eat, we can say we know local on a first name basis.
Let's grow the movement of farmsteadtarian eating together.
The first and largest comprehensive source for real food from real farmers in your community, listing CSAs, farmers’ markets, farmstands and other sources of local food throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Search by ingredients, by type of farm or food provider and locally for fresh foods, including cheese, jams, meats, flowers and produce. This website allows you to place orders online directly from farms and for pick-up at farms.
Farmers' Market Directory (USDA Agriculture Marketing Service)apps.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/
One out of every three of the over 6,000 farmers’ markets in the U.S., started since 2000. Expect this growth to double when the price of gas does, too. Like many listings, this one is not complete. So check with others, too.
Farmers' Market Coalitionfarmersmarketcoalition.org/state-associations/
Since farmers’ markets are independently organized and managed, often coordinated through state organizations, this coalition provides a listing of these associations by state. It also addresses the latest developments on farmers’ markets nationally.
Wilson College, Robyn Van En Centerhttp://www.wilson.edu/wilson/asp/content.asp?id=1567
Listing over 1,400 farms operating as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation, this center also provides resources for the CSA movement.
U.S.D.A. National Agricultural Librarywww.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml
A national directory of farms based on the community supported agriculture (CSA) model.
Rodale Institute Farm Locatorwww.rodaleinstitute.org/farm_locator
From the leading source for sustainable farming, the Rodale Institute’s farm locator provides a listing of sustainable farms and other retail food outlets.
Fair Trade Federationfairtradefederation.org
The trade association for organizations committed to fair trade and as such, provides information about the issues surrounding fair trade. Look for the Fair Trade label on coffee, tea, bananas, chocolate and many other products that are certified by this organization. Free trade often exploits both the natural resources and the people who make the goods we enjoy. Fair trade seeks to restore balance, making sure the farmers, for example, are compensated fairly for their labor and the communities are not destroyed in the process of harvesting or processing.
Another resource for locating fair trade-certified products. This organization is the third-party certifier (along with TransFair Canada) of fair trade products in North American.
Buy Local Think Localbuylocalthinkglobal.com
A directory of local food growers, food purveyors and farms.
A national directory and information portal for grass-fed (pasture-raised) livestock.
Marine Stewardship Councilwww.msc.org
When it comes to purchasing sustainable seafood, this is one organization to turn to first. If you enjoy seafood, try to make sure it's certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) by the seafood ecolabel the comes with the rigorous fishery certification program offered by this organization. There's a search feature to locate where to buy MSC-certified seafood near you.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood WATCHwww.montereybayaquarium.org
As one of the most amazing aquariums in the world, Monterey Bay Aquarium also makes eating sustainable seafood a cinch with their Seafood WATCH pocket guide card, a quick reference guide next time you're selecting fish; just choose those listed as the "best choices" or "good alternatives."
Environmental Defense Fundedf.org/seafood
This organization offers easy-to-use Seafood (and Sushi) Selector pocket guides that promote sustainable and healthy oceans while at the same time working with troubled fisheries to improve management and conservation.
Humane Farm Animal Carecertifiedhumane.org
Through rigorous standards for certification of the humane treatment of farm animals that include an annual inspection, this organization helps insures that animals are fed nutritious diets without antibiotics or hormones, provided adequate shelter, resting areas, sufficient space, and that the animals engage in natural behaviors. Search their directory of those retailers or suppliers of Certified Humane Raised and Handled meat products.
Natural Food Cooperative Grocery Storescoopdirectory.org/directory.htm
Organizations owned and controlled by its members and which provides affordable, healthy food primarily for the cooperative members. We belong to the nation’s largest food cooperative, Willy Street Co-op in Madison, Wisconsin, where we’re able to place bulk orders of items featured in this cookbook (organic flour, organic sugar, butter and canola oil) at a price as close to wholesale as you’ll find anywhere.
Eat Well Guidewww.eatwellguide.org
Listings for CSAs, sustainable restaurants, food co-ops, stores and bed & breakfasts in your area or perhaps someplace where you're headed.
Food Buying Clubs
A group of individuals coming together to place a group order for food items, securing discounts for all its members. Orders are placed through a food cooperative warehouse or regional natural foods distributor.
We occasionally eat away from home, almost always when we’re on business. If eating out, we try to eat as local and sustainable as possible and the Chefs Collaborative is a great place turn for our options.
Green Restaurant Associationdinegreen.com
A great resource for certified “green” restaurants based on sustainable food selection, energy use, water efficiency, waste, disposables and pollution reduction.
The FoodRoutes Network supports the Buy Fresh Buy Local program for regional or citywide chapters that support sustainable food and farming systems.
Pick Your Ownpickyourown.org
Complete state-by-state directory of U-pick farms in the U.S.