How to buy eco-friendly local food to reduce food miles

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Have you ever calculated your food miles? That's the distance food has to travel to get to your table. If you reduce your food miles and buy local food produce, you'll help the environment and your local farmers. Author Anna Lappe of the Small Planet Institute has tips to help you find, buy, and eat locally grown foods.

How to buy eco-friendly local food to reduce food miles

One of the best things you can do for your health and the health of the planet is to reduce food miles and eat locally grown food. Join the ‘locavore’ movement!

  • Shop at farmer’s markets. If you’re not sure there’s one near you, go to localharvest.org and type in your zip code. It will then tell you the nearest farmer’s market.
  • Another great way to eat locally grown food is to become a 'member' of a farm through Community Supported Agriculture. You become a shareholder in a farm. You pay about 300 to 500 dollars at the beginning of the growing season. This works out to about 18 to 30 dollars per week for your produce, which is about the same as you’d pay for the same amount of non-organic and non-local at the grocery store.
  • Go to your supermarket: some markets are labeling the food miles in their sections. This is the distance food had to travel to get from the place it was grown until it got to you. But if your supermarket doesn’t clearly label country of origin or food miles, ask your store manager. Many will do it if customers ask.
  • If you’re feeling like it’s hard to go local all by yourself, you can join up with other people doing it. Go to websites for the "100 mile dieters", who are people trying to eat only food grown within 100 miles of them, locavores.com, or eatlocalchallenge.org.
Transcript

Hi, I’m Anna Lappe for howdini.com. When it comes to the foods you eat, one of the best things you can do for your health and the health of the environment is to choose local food as much as possible.

One of the best ways to find local food is to shop at farmer’s markets. If you’re not sure if you have a farmer’s market near you, just go to localharvest.org, type in your zip code, and you’ll be able to see all of the nearby farmer’s markets.

One of the other really fantastic ways to get access to local, fresh food is to actually become a member of a farm through community-supported agriculture. What is a CSA? Well, it’s a very simple concept. Basically, you become a shareholder in a farm. By handing over, at the beginning of the growing season, between about 300 to 500 dollars -- which might sound like a lot to you, but actually it works out to about 18 to 30 dollars a week, and that’s probably about what you would spend for the same products, but non-local and non-organic if you just bought them at the grocery store.

Now the third way to find local food is to go to your supermarket. It’s a little bit harder, though, so you have to know what to look for. Some markets are actually starting to label the food miles of the food and the produce sections. And by food miles, it’s a simple term that describes the number of miles that your food has traveled to get from where it was harvested to the store that you’re buying it. If your supermarket doesn’t have really clearly labeled country of origin or food miles, you can ask your store manager about where the food came from, and you can ask them to start labeling. You’d be surprised at how many stores, just in the past few years, have started to label where they’re food comes from because customers like you ask them to do it.

If you’re feeling, though, that it’s a little bit hard to go local all on your own, you can join up with other people in your community that are trying to eat more locally. You can go to websites like the website for the 100 miles Dieter. So that’s people who are trying to eat food only within 100 miles. You can also check out locavores.com, and also go to eatlocalchallenge.org as well.

Hoping you’ll eat locally as much as possible, I am Anna Lappe for howdini.com.

meet theexpert
  • Anna Lappe

    Anna Lappe Co-founder, Small Planet Institute Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author and public speaker, known for her work on sustainable agriculture, food politics and social change. Named one of Time Magazine’s Eco-Who’s Who, Anna has been featured in The New York Times, Gourmet, O-The Oprah Magazine, Domino, Food & Wine, and Vibe, among many other outlets. She is the co-author of Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet. With her mother, Anna co-founded the Small Planet Insti more about this expert »

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