You buy as much local food as possible. You’re a regular at the farmers’ market, and you have a CSA membership. You bring your own reusable bags, you have a bumper sticker that reads “No Farms, No Food.” You buy growlers of your local beer and get excited with the first ripe summer strawberries show up for the season. You buy local maple and honey and do all the research to learn how to use more of them in your baked goods. You might feel like you’re doing everything for the local food movement, but you know collectively we still have a long way to go. You may be wondering, but what else can I do?
We have five suggestions for things that anyone can do to really help move the local food movement forward.
1. Say “Thank You” to Businesses & Institutions That Prioritize Local Food
Is there a restaurant or grocery store that carries your favorite local food? Does the school, hospital, or elder care facility in your community serve local food? Make sure to say THANK YOU!
A sample template that you can use to send via social media message, email, or mail.
Hi, my name is ____,
On (date) I visited (business/institution) and had the pleasure of buying/eating (product) from (farm). Eating locally is really important to me, and I am really thankful that your business/institution recognizes the importance of local food too.
I just wanted to say thank you to your team for putting in the extra effort to support local farms. I am really thankful that people like you support our larger agricultural community.
2. Make a Special Request to Businesses & Institutions That Could Serve More Local Food
Do you wish your local grocery store, favorite restaurant, or community organization would offer more local food? One way to kindly suggest that the people who are involved in the purchase, preparation and ordering of food consider buying local food, is to make a suggestion. Remember to keep your communication kind and express your appreciation for what offerings currently exist.
Below is a sample template that you can use to send via social media message, email, or mail.
Hi, my name is ____,
On (date) I visited (business/institution) and enjoyed a (meal/purchase). I really appreciated (note something that you did appreciate, maybe the convenience, speed of service etc.) It’s clear that your team is working really hard to offer (food/meals) to our community.
Eating locally is really important to me, and it would mean a lot to me to see that your business/institution recognizes the importance of local food and farms too.
If you’re interested, you may want to check out the Adirondack Harvest wholesale database where you can find local farms that sell wholesale. You can also sign up to talk with one of their staff for one on one support in navigating the logistics of buying local food.
Thank you for all that you do, and your consideration in supporting local farms,
3. Share Your Love for Local Food
Share with your friends and family how delicious, easy and affordable enjoying local food can be. Use local ingredients in your family’s traditional recipes, bring one of your favorite seasonal dishes to a pot-luck, post a photo of your favorite ripe summer berries on social media. Be an example to people in your network so they feel empowered to buy local too.
4. Make a Commitment to Buy Just One Thing Only Local
We are so lucky to have a huge diversity of local food available in the Adirondacks. Did you know that apples, carrots, beets, cheese, meat, milk, grains, and so much more can be found locally, even during the dead of winter? Make a commitment to buy one thing only local year-round. Maybe it’s your daily eggs for breakfast. Perhaps you commit to only buying local apples. By choosing just to buy one food that you regularly enjoy only from local farmers, you will start to build a new routine around regional seasonality.
5. Be an Advocate
Have you heard of the Adirondack Food System Network? It’s a recently created coalition of community members, farmers, and service providers that work together to support the local food system in the Adirondacks. You can sign up for their email list or express interest in joining a working group here. Additionally, you can stay up to date and sign petitions and send letters in support of farmers in New York State through the American Farmland Trust. You can also stay up to date on Adirondack Ag advocacy from the Essex Farm Institute.
Looking for more ways to stay involved in the Adirondack local food systems? Make sure you’re signed up for our weekly email updates with information, recipes, news and stories of food and farming in the Adirondacks.