Local Food, Simple Living: Plan to Achieve Your Local Food Goals

by Bridget Alexander.

January is the time to get your plan on for eating local this year. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to focusing on local food or been doing it for years – you can do it better, or at least more efficiently.

farmers marketMost of us are living a haphazard life that we squeeze out in-between work and family obligations and one of the ways our over-stuffed lives can start getting simpler is through local food. However, you need a plan.

First decide how you will be sourcing your local food?

  • Farmers’ Markets
  • Farm Stands
  • CSA
  • Growing Your Own
  • Will you commit to sourcing year round or keep it to the traditional June-October?
  • Perhaps you will make a couple of special local food buying binges for Thanksgiving and winter holidays?

Thanksgiving

My tip is to decide on which of the above you will participate in and then lay out the budget – you may find you need to cut one thing to have another or that you would love to be growing some of your own food but you really don’t have the time.

According to a survey conducted by SEMAP in 2013, the majority of households buying local do so once a week, at farmers’ markets and spend up to $50. Farm stands are next and then CSAs.

CSAs can be great because you buy in at one flat rate for the season, but that decision takes commitment and planning. It cost from $450-$750 or more to join a CSA and you need to come to the farm on the day, or sometimes a choice of two days, and time to pick up your share each week. Trust me, when you get busy you may miss a week and then you’re losing money on your investment.

Many times you will find yourself going to a farmers’ market or farm stand in addition to your CSA share. So, you might want to estimate $50 a week plus your CSA investment.  And I would say that many households will also want to at least grow a few vegetables themselves.

There will be some expense for seeds and you will want to buy them now, if you haven’t already. I’m a Fedco fan myself. They are based in Maine and all of the seeds they sell will grow in Massachusetts. It’s exhilarating when those seeds arrive at your door and even more thrilling when they sprout! Make sure to get your soil tested if growing directly into your ground, or plan on buying or building a raised bed.

fedcoseeds-2012

You will be more successful with a plan and a budget.

Make local food a priority this year and you may need to streamline some other elements in your life. You may need to simplify it. Because you will need time to prep and cook your treasure trove of goodies.

Now, if you really take it to the next level you will want to can your veggies, too – and that will take a significant amount of commitment to sourcing extra (and the cost) and then the time to can – don’t forget storage…

canningPlease share your plans for eating local this year in the comments!

Happy Eating,
Bridget

Bridget is a 37 year old mother of two. She lives in West Wareham with her husband and their two children.  She has also resided in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, California (Pacific Beach, San Diego), and on a dairy farm in Montana. She has a degree in Communications and Creative Writing.  She is also an attorney and member of the Massachusetts bar…but does not practice, and instead focuses on her blog The Good Life, She Wrote and Commercial Freelance Writing.
Over the last five years she has become increasingly interested in simple living, as she struggles to achieve life-work balance; and local food, as she strives to eat a whole, plant-based diet.  Bridget also served as the executive director of the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) for four years.

About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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9 Responses to Local Food, Simple Living: Plan to Achieve Your Local Food Goals

  1. Nora Nelson says:

    Well said! I DO need a plan! Thanks for the guidance.

  2. Nora Nelson says:

    Love the energy and enthusiasm here..looking for my winter CSA now.

  3. What wonderful advice! We can’t function at our best without quality food in our tank. These are some great tips for mapping out how to successful enjoy local, high quality, real food. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Dr. Riordan!
      I couldn’t agree with you more on the need to have high quality, unprocessed food in our bodies to function at our best! Local food also keeps us from getting sick by boosting our immune systems…especially critical this time of year! And can sometimea serve as the best remedy when we do happen to catch a bug. So visit your winter markets and eat up those winter shares!
      Best, Bridget

  4. Katie Dewey says:

    Great article, Bridget. I am a recent convert to local eating, and it was a gradual process for me. I started with weekly summer farmers market visits two years ago, and then joined a summer CSA this year. This winter, I added a winter CSA and am eagerly awaiting spring CSA season. In the mean time, I’m making it a priority to visit the Plymouth and Marshfield winter markets (I live in Onset so have to schedule time to make the drive!) and buy whatever veggies are available. My 2014 local eating resolution also includes trying to source all meat and eggs locally, and so far so good! eSS and the SEMAP site have been great resources.

    • Thanks, Katie!
      Great to hear from a Wareham neighbor. I too travel to Plymouth for their winter market. Gradually committing to and adding in local foods is the way to go! Sometimes we get too excited and dive-in deep, only to come up gasping for breath and a little disappointed that we didn’t succeed. Congrats on your winter CSA – sounds like you are quickly becoming an expert!
      Best, Bridget

  5. dave purpura says:

    Hey, I recognize those vegetables ! :0)

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