Fair Farms advocates for consumers to buy local. Farmers markets, food aggregators, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs provide an essential service to all of us by nourishing our communities and stewarding the environment with sustainable practices. We as consumers have the opportunity to showcase our commitment to our farming communities, environment, and economies by supporting the local farmers that provide us with the fresh produce our bodies require.
Shopping at local farms or farmers markets allows us to cultivate relationships with the people producing the foods we eat and can foster a stronger sense of community and cultural ties to the land we live on. As consumers, having a direct connection to our farmers and growers can promote dialogues that lead to more conscious consumption as we learn about the foods grown in our region and the practices used to grow them.
The environmental benefits of purchasing food outside big-box supermarkets are immense. The average American meal travels about 1500 miles from farm to plate, and conventional food distribution is reported to have anywhere from 5 to 17 times of a greater carbon footprint than regionally produced foods. Buying local also reduces food waste, as large grocery stores often reject “ugly”produce that is otherwise perfectly edible. Unlike many large-scale intensive agribusinesses, farmers selling to local markets are often committed to sustainable agricultural practices.
Buying locally grown produce positively impacts our local economies. The New Economics Foundation reported that purchasing food at a local market or CSA as opposed to a supermarket chain resulted in twice the money staying in the community. Keeping funds flowing through the local economy can ensure the longevity of local food businesses that could otherwise fall victim to chain stores and restaurants.
Projects & Priorities
Resources for Consumers
Locally Grown Foods:
- Farm Farms’ Partner Map.
- Check out Fair Farms partner farms with CSA’s.
- Find local markets closest to you using this online map directory.
- The Maryland Organic Food and Farming Association (MOFFA) has created a resource list of CSA’s in Maryland.
- Use the Local Honey Finder map to find local honey sellers.
- Maryland’s Best: Linking Farmers to Consumers.
Food Businesses that Source Locally:
- Find a local farm-to-table restaurant with this map from the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
- ‘From the Farmer’ fresh products delivered to your home.
- ‘Know-Where-Your-Food-Comes-From‘ online directory for Maryland restaurants promoting sustainable and local agriculture.
- Find a MOM’s Organic Market near you.
- Take the Buy Local Pledge and solidify your support for local foods.
- Sustainable Table’s Questions to Ask a Farmer.
- Take the Healthy Soils Pledge to adopt healthy soil practices in your yard and garden.
- For more information on why it’s important to buy and consume locally grown foods, read our recent blog post “Supporting the Farms that Sustain Us” and the “Buy Local Challenge.”