If you’ve read some of my early posts, like this one and this one, then you know a little bit about how we got started eating real food. It’s been a good, but slow-moving journey. Since we are still living in an apartment, we are unable to have our own animals. We’ve been able to plant a few gardens, but due to the lack of sunlight, they haven’t done well.
When we initially moved to North Carolina, we connected with a co-op to buy our raw milk and grass-fed meat. While we have been thankful for the co-op, it is expensive and the food comes from out-of-state. There is a one-time membership fee and a monthly shipping fee, with additional boxes costing extra. It’s been a great thing to have access to, but we’ve been hoping to find something local and more affordable.
Last summer, we found out about a farmers’ market less than 10 minutes from us. We started going every Saturday to get eggs, meat, and produce. We’ve formed relationships with two farms and cut back on what we buy from the grocery store and started only purchasing our milk from the co-op.
One of the best ways to find out about local farmers is through word of mouth. I love that.
Some friends that we’ve been blessed to meet since moving here, who also share our desire to eat real, local, sustainably grown food, found out about a local dairy that does weekly drops of dairy, meat, and eggs, as well as a few other items, like nut butters and honey. There is no membership fee and no shipping fee (since it’s local). When I called the farm, the lady I spoke with was super friendly and helpful. Plus, she called me “Sug” as in “Sugar,” sooo… what’s not to love?! We picked up our first order this past Saturday… raw cream, grass-fed ground beef, pastured eggs, and grass-fed beef liver. I’m thankful that we’re able to support this local farm and get one step closer to our goals.
local grass-fed raw cream
So, you’re reading this and thinking, “Okay, this is great for y’all… but why do I need to buy locally?”
Although there are many economic benefits to buying locally, what I find the most value in is accountability. When I purchase my food from local producers, I know and they know that if I am dissatisfied with their product, I can speak to them about it directly, face-to-face, and either resolve the issue or choose to buy my food from someone else. Many of us find value in having local insurance agents, car mechanics, pastors, physicians, etc. Why not the person who supplies the food that you put in your body three times a day and could potentially determine the course of your health and your family’s health for years to come?
Joel Salatin, the self-proclaimed “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-farmer” of Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia, said this in an interview with Dr. Mercola:
“As we know, artisanal anything must be small-scale. The difference between a pot made on a potter’s wheel as an individual craft, as an extension of a person’s soul if you will, compared to a pot made in a mass-produced factory—the difference is that this one has character, integrity, and often has nuances that this one over here won’t have.
And certainly the same thing is true in food.”
He also discussed the effects that choosing or not choosing to eat locally will have on our children and grandchildren:
“That’s why our slogan is, ‘We’re healing the land one bite at a time.’ We want people to understand that when you eat, that is a decision that affects the landscape our children will inherit. You can make that decision independent of politics and everything else. You could make that decision three times a day. And there are thousands of farmers like us (many of them smaller than us) around the country and around the world, that are waiting to serve that clientele.”
In his book Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, Salatin talks about the negative effects of not eating locally.
“…lack of accountability, transportation costs, exporting food dollars out of the community, volume requirements for economies of scale, inhumane production models, concentrated volumes of byproducts like manure and processing waste.”
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound good to me. I personally like having the chance to be called “Sug” by my food supplier. 😉
Maybe you want to eat locally, but you don’t know how to get started. Here are some resources for you to find local food in your area:
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)