Eating local food is considered to be one of the best things you can do for the environment and that means eating more locally raised, farmed, harvested and produced meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, breads and more. Since it’s wintertime though, you might think that let’s you off the hook for eating healthy and local, but think again. While it may not be feasible with our modern lifestyles to eat 100 percent local food all year round, it’s more possible than you think. A little research, planning and experimentation is all it takes to eating more sustainably all year.
Locavorism is the idea that we should eat as much locally produced food as possible. Recent arguments even contend that eating local can even more positively impact the environment than buying organic produce that is shipped halfway around the world. Of course, the ideal is still to find locally grown and raised foods that haven’t been be treated with pesticides and have been grown utilizing the most sustainable methods possible. Of course, don’t expect tomatoes in the middle of winter, but branch out and seasonally.
For those who are want to commit to eating more locally, how is it possible to expand your local food opportunities during the winter? Here are a few ideas.
1. Join a CSA
Many CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) grow food all winter long. I’m currently subscribed to a CSA and every two weeks I get a box filled with kale, collards, greens, root vegetables and other hearty winter vegetables. My share also features apples, which are stored in cold storage and fresh herbs, which are grown in a greenhouse. Visit Local Harvest to find a CSA near you.
2. Grow Your Own Food Inside
While it’s not realistic to grow a whole garden’s worth of food indoors, it is possible to supplement your diet of staples with fresh accents. Fresh delicacies like microgreens, sprouts and herbs can easily be grown in sunny windowsills to accompany your hearty winter soups and stews.
3. Cold Frame Growing
One of the techniques farmers use is cold-frame growing. With cold-frame growing, it is possible to extend the growing season for some foods. Learn more at Organic Gardening.
4. Local Food Co-ops and Exchanges
I also suggest doing some research for all year farmers markets, food exchange and food cooperatives. I regularly visit a local food exchange in my community that has fresh local foods delivered by local farmers all year long. Local Harvest is also a great resource for this option.
5. Preserving Food
Finally, there is also the option to can and freeze the bounty of the summer to enjoy in the wintertime. Preserving food is not as difficult as it sounds and the work is worth it. Nothing beats a mid-winter fruit salad made from peaches and berries frozen at in the summer. Learn more at the National Center for Home Food Preservation
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