Have some of you wondered what’s the big deal? Why all the hype? Why should I care? Well, let me show you.
Do me a favor and pause for a moment from reading this article, and if in a cafe or restaurant, look off to your right/left ... Or if you are in your home, walk to the nearest window and take a look outside. Do you see that person sitting next to you or that neighbor living down the street? That is why you should care.
Because buying local is not just some new fad to hit the scene, rather it is a return to a way of life once fundamental to our culture. Buying local food and other products is about strengthening our local economy. As we feed and clothe ourselves, we also feed our neighbors, our friends and our regional community. So as we enter a new year, make a resolution to explore local options every week, and every month, of 2010. Make a resolution to support your community.
The winter months are a vital time to hunt out local food growers, producers and vendors. While fresh fruits and vegetables might not be on the local menu, many other products are available through the year, and these vendors need a winter income to survive from year to year. Don’t you? And new research into the economic impacts of local spending is finding that money spent on local foods, specifically at farmers markets and locally owned businesses, has a much greater impact on the health of the local economy than that spent at larger chain stores, even those that carry some local food products.
Don’t know where to start? Well, begin by getting familiar with where you can purchase various local produce and products. One opportunity is the Winter Foods Market held at Local D’Lish, 208 1st St. N. It’s held the third Saturday of the month through April.
It features many vendors from the Mill City Farmers Market, including local farmers with meats and cheeses, locally made breads, chocolates, skin-care products and more. Not only can you buy great local products, but you get to do it straight from the producers themselves.
So challenge yourself in 2010 to make a meal using local products every week. Use this personal resolution to explore what it means to live and eat locally, one tender morsel at a time. Together we can create a vibrant living community of friends and neighbors, providing for each others needs.
Stefan Meyer is an urban farmer for Backyard Harvest, which works to connect people with locally grown foods.
Winter Foods Market
What: A chance to connect with Mill City Farmers Market vendors during the winter months.
Where: Local D’Lish, 208 1st N.
When: Third Saturday of the month thru April (10 a.m.– 2 p.m.)