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10 Easy Ways to Eat Locally
- Brake for farm stands. If hand-lettered signs saying "Fresh Corn" or "Sweet Cherries Up Ahead" tempt you, pull over. Roadside stands are a great way to buy freshly picked produce, often directly from the farmer.
- Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Many farms offer produce subscriptions that allow you to purchase weekly or monthly boxes of produce, flowers, and other farm products You'll get whatever's being harvested that week and know that you're directly supporting a local farm. To find a farm near you click on Local Harvest.
- Shop at farmers' markets. Most communities have at least one local farmers' market and many venues now operate yearround. To find a farmers' market near you, go to the U. S. Department of Agriculture's clickable map, which features a state-by-state list of certified markets.
- Eat with the seasons. Build your diet around what's growing locally. Many Eastern cultures believe this is the healthiest way to eat.
- Stock up and preserve. For generations, people have been canning, drying, and freezing food for winter—and our foremothers didn't even have Ziplock bags! For more information on how to preserve food go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation's Web site.
- Build relationships with local meat producers. Many farmers sell beef, pork, and fowl products directly to consumers through farmers' markets and Web sites. If you've got a relationship with a local butcher, ask where the meat comes from—and encourage them to do business with local producers. For more information about buying meat from local sources, click on the Eatwell Guide, a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs.
- Support agritourism. Many small farms welcome visitors at certain times of the year. Visit u-pick orchards, pumpkin patches and dairies, and you'll often get to see not just where the food is grown but how it's harvested and produced. Some farms offer hayrides, demonstrations, corn mazes, and other fun activities for families. For more information about agritourism, visit Agritourism World, a searchable online directory of agricultural tourism.
- Dine at restaurants that specialize in local food. An increasing number of restaurants support sustainable agriculture by promoting seasonal cuisine. To find restaurants near you visit Chefs Collaborative, which offers state-by-state listings.
- Grow your own. When it comes to freshness nothing can beat your own back yard. Learn how to grow your own organic garden.
- Trade with your neighbors. If your apple tree is overflowing with fruit, share your bounty. Some neighborhoods even organize backyard produce exchanges.