Fresh from the Farm: It’s Local Season!
The local foods movement is now firmly rooted nationwide. Where other trends have come and gone, the commitment to eat local foods is stronger than ever, fueled by a growing desire for transparency in food production practices, knowing where our food dollars are going, and the sheer delight of eating a freshly picked tomato. There’s no better time than summer to celebrate local foods when the bounty and diversity of local foods are at their peak.
It’s a movement to which food co-ops are deeply committed and have long supported. With the height of the local growing season upon us, there’s not better time than now to celebrate the freshest, best, and most delicious local foods. Now and throughout the year, the Co-op offer unique ways to explore and enjoy the bounty and benefits of eating locally sourced foods. For instance, shoppers are encouraged to “shake the hand that feeds them” on our annual farm tours.
What constitutes local?
So, how exactly is local food defined? That depends. Definitions vary from co-op to co-op based on geography and climate, among other factors. Chequamegon Food Co-op defines “local” as any food grown or product made within a 100-mile radius of our store in Ashland, Wisconsin. Other co-ops define local as anything within a 300-mile radius or a tri-state region. During “local season” you’ll find numerous opportunities to explore and enjoy flavorful local options and support the growers and producers who make this fresh, delicious food possible.
Why eat local?
Chequamegon Food Co-op cultivates relationships with local growers and producers in order to support local farmers and provide the freshest, highest quality products for co-op shoppers. Together, the Co-op and local producers create viable market opportunities for local products, while giving co-op shoppers a convenient and close connection to fresh, delicious food of the highest quality.
Eating local foods celebrates the diversity of communities and supports local food producers.
Local food benefits co-op shoppers, growers, communities and the environment. Local foods are fresher, taste better, and typically retain more nutrients by traveling faster from field to plate instead of spending days or weeks in shipping.
In addition, eating local helps preserve and even stimulate the local economy, as dollars spent on local foods support regional farmers and producers. By keeping their wages in the community, much of the income farmers earn and the taxes they pay go right back into the local economy.
Locally owned by members of the community, Chequamegon Food Co-op keeps investment dollars in the vicinity by supporting local farmers, food artisans, and other local businesses, and providing jobs for people in the area.
As longtime supporters of local food, the Co-op holds a variety of events and celebrations, while also offering resources that can help enrich the celebration of local foods—so be sure to ask what’s local and what’s happening around local food.
Looking for inspiration on what to do with the bounty of local fruits and vegetables available during local season? Visit strongertogether.coop for articles and recipes!
Article adapted and republished by permission from strongertogether.coop.