Groceries get around more than you might realize. From farm to fridge, odds are the pineapple in your fruit bowl or the milk in your cereal has racked up even more frequent flier miles than you have.
That’s a lot of fossil fuel burned on our food’s account.
The local food movement is out to change that. By only eating foods produced in their community, region or country, adherents, known as locavores, aim to reduce pollution and support ethical farming practices.
With more and more people defecting from supermarket to farmer’s market, a number of websites have appeared to help users find local food in their own communities.
If you’re thinking of going local, these sites can help you make the switch:
The Google of local food sites, LocalHarvest seems to have everything. Want to find farmer’s markets or farm subscriptions near you? Just enter your ZIP code into the site’s search engine.
Looking for local food-inspired recipes? LocalHarvest has that too. The site even has its own online marketplace, where shoppers can buy locally-grown produce from the comfort of their own homes.
2. Sustainable Table
A collection of resources for conscientious eaters, Sustainable Table provides information on issues ranging from local food to genetically modified (GMO) crops. The site also provides links to a wide selection of U.S. and regional local food guides.
For a good laugh, check out the animated parody “The Meatrix,” in which a group of livestock don trench coats and sunglasses to do battle with Big Agribusiness.
A local food website for the activist in you. FoodRoutes, a national non-profit with the goal of “reintroducing Americans to their food,” advocates sustainable farming practices and provides consumers with information on the local food movement.
The site is also home to Buy Fresh Buy Local, a locavore organization with chapters in 28 U.S. states.
4. Eat Well Guide
Eat Well Guide is a spiffy, simple search engine that allows residents of the U.S. and Canada to find organic and local food shops and restaurants in their area, and the site’s guide to organic butchers and locally-raised meats should be especially helpful to the carnivorous crowd. In addition, the site hosts The Green Fork, an award-winning local foods blog.
Foodzie is an online marketplace for small-batch and artisan foodstuffs that’s all about craft, offering such delicacies as pumpkin-spice granola from Maryland and smoked sea salt from Maine. Customers can search for products by either name or location produced. However, some vendors are more local food friendly than others, so die-hard locavores might want to double-check before making their final purchases.
Plus one for our European friends:
An interactive map of local food markets around Britain, BigBarn’s Google Maps-based interface is easy to use and packed with information. The site also includes a searchable recipe database, where visitors can learn to make dishes like apple pancakes and wine-braised beef.
Matador’s archives are full of recommendations about how you can eat local while traveling. Check out Slow Food, Slow Travel: Italy and Munching Montana: A Road Trip Guide to Montana’s Most Unique Local Food just for starters.
Want to volunteer with an organization that places a strong emphasis on local food? Read our profile of the Culinary Corps.
Interested in a more philosophical take on locavorism? How Local Self-Reliance Will Overthrow the System and Do we need industrial fertilizers to weather the food crisis? might be right up your alley.
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Born and raised in Chicago, Adam Roy is a travel writer, avid scuba diver and aspiring renaissance man. For more of Adam's writing, visit his blog at www.illadvisedadventures.com.
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