How to Find Local Food

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Let’s have another brainstorming session! On Friday, we discussed the importance of purchasing local food. Now it is time to figure out how to find it. It takes a bit more work because you might not find it all in one place (the exception being a Farmer’s Market). In addition, you have to do a little digging to find resources, because some farmers don’t advertise or are off the beaten track.

Here are some methods you can use to find local food in your area.

Search LocalHarvest Database

The LocalHarvest listings include many options for local food: grocery stores (like Localvore in Sutherlin, Oregon), restaurants, CSAs (community supported agriculture), farmer’s markets, U-Pick farms, farm stands, co-ops, and more… You can search by zip code or city and state to find out what venues have voluntarily added themselves to the database. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you’ll be able to contact the various vendors for more details about their hours, offerings, prices, and growing practices.

I recommend signing up for the LocalHarvest newsletter. Then you’ll be informed of new listings automatically in your state.

Weston A. Price Foundation Local Chapter

The local chapters of the Weston A. Price Foundation will “help you find locally-grown organic and biodynamic vegetables, fruits and grains; and milk products, butter, eggs, chicken and meat from pasture-fed animals.” Find your local chapter here.

Newspaper, Free Shopper, Free-Cycle, or Craig’s List

Search these resources for notices of low-cost or free abundances of fruits, nuts or garden veggies. So many people just can’t keep up with what their land produces that they’re looking for others to come and glean. Here are the links to Free-Cycle and Craig’s List. You’ll have to track down the newspaper and/or free shopper classifieds in your area.

Natural Food Warehouses, Co-ops & Buying Clubs

Natural food warehouses may offer local, same-state, or regional food. In my area, there are three natural food warehouses: Azure Standard, United Natural Foods, and Hummingbird Wholesale. To be able to purchase from these companies, you must be part of a co-op group or buying club that places a minimum $ order each time. Contact the company directly to request a catalog and/or to find out who to contact locally about becoming a part of the group. Hummingbird Wholesale accepts walk-in customers at their location in Eugene, Oregon on certain days.

I coordinate a co-op group in my area (Douglas County, Oregon) for Hummingbird Wholesale out of Eugene, Oregon. We order every other month and I make deliveries to central locations in Roseburg, Oregon and Sutherlin, Oregon. Please contact me for more information about that group. But… before contacting me, please browse their online catalog to see if their offerings are a good match for you or not. Taking this step beforehand will save all of us some time! :) Thanks.

You can find more natural food warehouses through the national Co-op Directory.

Ordering from these companies doesn’t guarantee getting local food. Their food offerings may be transported a few miles or many thousands of miles. Still, I include this option because it is possible to get local, same-state, or regional food from these warehouses.

Grow Your Own or Trade With Friends

Even though this option is so common sense, I must include it. You can grow your own local food! Even if you don’t have a garden, you can grow microgreens or sprouts; or lettuce in hanging baskets or bowls on the patio; or tomato plants in a pot on your porch; or… I do some of these things until I have a garden.

Your friends may have garden excess to sell, or to trade for a food or service that you can provide.

Ask Questions

A great way to find information about local food offerings is to ask around. The people who know are the people who are involved in the local food movement themselves. One likely place to find these people is at the health food store. Sure, they like to sell retail, but the nice folks are usually 100% behind the philosophy of local food, so they’re almost always glad to pass on information about who is growing what or what co-ops are available. They may have a bulletin board set up to host information about local food. You can also ask vendors at the Farmer’s Market. Perhaps someone has a friend who doesn’t make it to the market but has great tomatoes…

What you’re looking for by asking questions of knowledgeable people are recommendations for informal markets, Farmers’ Markets, grocery stores featuring local food, farmers, U-Pick farms, farm stands, the lady down the road from your friend who has lots of eggs, raw dairy farms, people with orchards who are looking for others to come and glean, etc.

Anything Else?

I would love to add to this list – I’m sure you’ve got some great ideas or resources to contribute! Please add them in the comments. We can all help each other this way – and help our local food providers succeed!

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Comments

  1. Martha Bisharat says

    Great ideas and research! Thanks, Wardee! I looked up the Weston Price Foundation local chapter info. The closest chapter to us is Missoula. I’m sure you did know that Sally Fallon Morell is associated with the Weston Price Foundation, although I can’t remember the connection at the moment. Love, Mom

  2. says

    I am so thrilled to find this site. I was diagnosed with UC at age 17. In my 30s I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and was very healthy with only some intermittent problems for 7.5 years. Most recently I have had a terrible flare with severe heartburn (which I think led to esophagitis), some GI troubles (although that’s less of a problem) and worst of all for me, MS symptoms (my mom has MS, diabetes, seizures, allergies and hasn’t changed her diet).

    Right now I am on a meat and low-carb veggies diet and I am getting better, thank God. Through elimination dieting I determined that ANY sugar made my symptoms worse, not just the grains and processed sugar I’d eliminated on the SCD. I just got Nourishing Traditions for the second time today and I am wondering what to do. I feel pretty certain I have a problem with dairy. I know I can’t handle wheat or corn. Should I stay on meat and low-carb veggies (I had some sauerkraut which was awesome) for six months before I try experimenting with soaking, sprouting, and fermenting or trying raw dairy? NT doesn’t seem to address this.

    I guess I don’t know if these latter foods would help me or hurt me at this point and I don’t want to take any steps backward. I’ve been miserable! Nice to meet you and looking forward to keeping up with your blog.
    .-= Mel´s last blog post… Babies, Not Birds and Bees =-.

    • says

      Mel – Hello! Thanks for sharing your story. You have really had a tough time of it. I can’t advise you as to what you should do, but I can offer some suggestions. Really, these are just the thoughts I would have if one of my family members were experiencing similar troubles. I am not a doctor or nutritionist, so please understand that my thoughts should just be added into the pool of things to consider and possibly tossed out. :)

      First, regarding dairy. Have you tried raw dairy or raw cultured dairy foods to know for sure whether dairy is a problem? That would be important information for your upcoming decisions. Same thing for sprouted or soaked or sourdough grains.

      I’m not sure it would be stepping back just to try a small amount of some of these foods, in isolation (avoid giving your body an onslaught). Your reaction(s) or lack of reaction could tell you quite a bit!

      Have you heard of the GAPS diet? http://gapsdiet.com/ It is a gut-healing diet, using traditional foods like in NT, but with restrictions to allow for gut healing. It sounds to me like you are on a gut-healing diet of your own making.

      If you do challenge the raw or cultured dairy, or sprouted/soaked/sourdough grains, and you have a reaction, I don’t think this means you will never be able to have them. Rather, it would be my opinion (for what it’s worth) that you need more time to heal. In that case, you would want to space out your challenges at intervals of perhaps 6 months or more.

      You’re doing really well, making progress and that should give you hope! Please keep in touch!

      I think the part of NT that you should focus on is taking a good cod liver oil daily, along with butter and cream from animals feasting on rapidly growing green grass. There is good cod liver oil here: http://www.building-health.com/green-pasture-products-m-4.html

  3. Mel says

    Wardee, thank you SO much for your response. The information was very helpful. I have some raw sheep cheese. I am going to do the sensitivity test tonight as described in the GAPS diet. My SIL is also getting me some raw milk and cream which I will use to make kefir this weekend. I will try small amounts and see how I do. I am very, very hopeful. If it doesn’t go, I know I can try again later.

    One question I have for you: does your son still have a problem with eggs? I developed an egg allergy from the SCD, eating so many of them. I get a stomach ache eating them plain, but not in baked goods. An allergist online explained that the heat denatures the protein making it tolerable for some people. I am hopeful that I will be able to bake with them at some point.

    Your recipe you posted sounds amazing. Can’t wait to make it for the kids!

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