Buying food today is complicated. Going to the grocery store can lead to a lot of questions. How far did your food travel to get to your table? Is local always better? What pesticides were used? Do I want that chicken free-range? Organic? Is vegetarian-fed a good thing? Eating consciously, sustainably, and locally allows us to build relationships with our food producers and more easily get answers to these tricky questions. The first steps in eating sustainably: know what you are eating and where it comes from!
Taste the Difference
While not all of the foods we love can be grown in our unique climate, there are benefits to embracing local and seasonal foods. Many foods purchased from local farmers will embrace our environment’s terroir and likely will have been picked more recently than the food found in supermarkets, which may have travelled a great deal to get here. Look for fresh and in-season produce – it just may give you a whole new appreciation for that food.
Meet your Neighbors
Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers markets have ten times as many conversations as their counterparts at the supermarket. Not only that, it gives you an opportunity to ask questions of the folks who produce your food. Grab a friend, hit the market, ask some questions, and try new foods!
Get in Touch with the Seasons
When we eat locally, we eat what’s in season. Tomatoes are the taste of summer. Apples are the epitome of fall. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and cozy pancakes just make sense—a lot more sense than flavorless tomatoes shipped from the other side of the world.
Ask Questions and Think Critically
Labels and certifications don’t always tell the full story. Think critically about what values are important to you and seek out the foods to match. Take advantage of having food producers in our community and ask questions. You’ll feel better about what you eat and will likely learn something new!
Eliminate Food Waste and Compost Scraps
A sustainable diet starts and ends with a sustainable waste system. Organic waste (food and plant materials) releases methane when put in the landfill. Reducing food waste helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. Be mindful of purchasing only what you need and be creative to use food before it goes bad! Compost what’s left to put that food waste back into the production cycle and help to grow new food.
Community Supported Agriculture Programs
Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a partnership between a farm and a community of supporters. These programs provide a direct link between food production and consumption. Members help to cover a farm’s yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of food at the beginning of the season. This investment in the farm helps pay for seeds, fertilizer, water, equipment maintenance, labor, etc. In return, the farm provides, to the best of its ability, a healthy and diverse supply of seasonal fresh produce throughout the growing season. CSAs create a strong relationship between community members and the food they eat, the land on which it is grown, and those who grow it.
Be Healthier & Grow Your Own
Growing food yourself allows you to try new, healthy foods, get outside, and get your hands dirty! Reach out if you have questions about starting your own garden. Don’t have room for a garden at your home? Join one of our local community gardens!
Find your local community garden and learn more from New Roots CO!
Support Small Farms and your Local Economy
Invest in our local economies and support those working hard to preserve our community. Doing so will sustain our family farmers and strengthen our community.