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Add a Little Local to Your Grocery Shopping

I'm a big fan of the local food movement and the buy local movement. Buying local food, goods, services, and entertainment from local people helps develop your community character and strengthens your economy. It also protects your community from despair if Walmart leaves after all the other neglected businesses shut down.

local eggplant with slogan buy local

Go Localish

But like everything in Cook for Good land, you don't have to do it all or all at once. Just being localish can make a big difference. You don't have to give up coffee or sugar just because they don't grow in your area. Today's recipe for Light Cashew Cream is a good example. Tropical cashew trees can't take a Raleigh winter, so local cashews are out of the question for me. But I can mix cashews with local eggplant for a dish that's about half local. That's good news for Elizabeth at Wild Onion Farms, who sold me the eggplant. It's good news for the people she pays, from her employees to her dentist. The taxes they all pay help support our local schools, libraries, roads, and fire department. 

Plus, I flat out like seeing Elizabeth and other people I know at the farmers' market most Saturday mornings. Buying local can turn a chore into a pleasure.

Even being a little localish adds up. The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) has a 10% Local campaign which has inspired over 8,000 people to spend over $70 million dollars in North Carolina since the program started seven years ago this month. As they point out, locally grown fruit and vegetables often taste better, so people tend to eat more of them. This helps people get and stay at a healthy weight and avoid cancer and heart disease.

Options Abound

Start with local choices at the grocery store and ask the manager to offer more. Eat at farm-to-table restaurants. Plant your own vegetable garden and orchard for the ultimate in local.  Grow pots of herbs, tomatoes, and green beans on your balcony. Barter with a friend who has a garden. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. Even if you live in a city in the snow belt, a local vertical urban farm may be the source for the microgreens on your deli sandwich.

Are You Localish?

How do you do it? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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