The Local Food Movement: Finding Resources in Your Area

The local food movement has grown in recent years, with the rise of farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSAs) now found throughout Tennessee. “Local food” simply refers to items grown or raised within a short distance from where you live. For food to be considered “local,” many people consider it has to be produced within 100 miles or in the same state.

How It Helps the Farmer

Choosing locally grown and raised food offers benefits to both you and farmers. For the farmer, selling locally yields a higher return. Without having to ship food hundreds of miles away, farmers can enjoy a bigger portion of the profits. On a personal level, selling directly to locals is also a rewarding experience because the farmer gets to know who purchases the foods he or she grows.

How It Helps You

You diet can also benefit from fresh foods purchased locally. You can choose from newly picked fruits and vegetables instead of old or otherwise poor-quality produce handled by multiple people. If you’re concerned about the safety of the food your purchase, you can rest assured that local goods will be fresher and more nutritious. You also build a strong mutual trust with farmers when you buy locally grown foods.

Learn more about the local food movement in Tennessee.

How to Choose Local Foods

Finding local foods in Tennessee is fairly easy. To start, look for farmers markets. These may be seasonal or open year-round, but they all stock fresh produce, meats, baked goods and other products made locally.

To get more involved in the local food movement, look for CSA programs in your area. These allow you to purchase a share in your local farm, affording you a weekly or monthly supply of its locally grown foods. Since monthly CSA boxes can provide ample produce, consider splitting the cost with a friend, family member or neighbor.

Even if you don’t have the time to get involved with the local food movement, you can still choose local foods as a general practice. Many grocery stores sell local produce, and often have these choices marked. You can also look for farm-to-table restaurants, which grow the same foods they use in their dishes. Enjoy the local flavors of the region by making these simple choices.

Joining the local food movement has many benefits, with one of the biggest advantages being that you know exactly where your food comes from. As author and activist Michael Pollan said, “At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind.”

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