what is local? | why buy local? | how does buying locally help the environment? | how does buying locally help the economy? | what is a CSA? | what can I pick at a pick your own farm? | what can I buy at a nursery? | what eligibility requirements must farms and businesses meet to have a listing on buyCTgrown.com? |
If you're interested in the local movement you may be wondering what exactly constitutes "local" produce and how much is local food limited in distance. The answers may seem obvious; however, the term "local" attributes different meanings to different people. In fact the answer should not be thought in such black in white terms. Instead, local produce is contingent on a number of factors, which include where you live, how long a growing season is, and what you're looking for.
Local food production can span a number of circles, ranging from growing your own food at home and food grown in an immediate community or home state. The radius of local produce may become blurred if a product cannot thrive in a local climate, resulting in the consumer to expand his/her reach. While local is a relatively flexible term, local foods are produced as close to a consumer's home as possible.
Local food is tastier, healthier, and has less of an impact on the environment. Since the average item on your dinner plates travels over 1500 miles before it reaches you, fruits and veggies lose valuable nutrients and are made more appealing through artificial means, including gassing and dyeing. Moreover, that 1500-mile trip from farm to table expends significant energy resources. Locally grown food not only benefits the consumer and the environment, but also supports the local economy, respects workers, provides farmers with fairer wages, and preserves Connecticut's farmland. For an extensive list of reasons as to why you should buy local click here:
(Adapted from CitySeed http://www.cityseed.org/local/why.shtml)
Naturally, food that travels further impacts the environment in tremendous ways. According to Sustainabletable.org, industrial food production, unlike local food, is dependent on fossil fuels, as they are used to transport food and to fuel machinery. They are also vital ingredients in the production of fertilizers and pesticides. Furthermore, the use of paper and plastic packaging puts a huge strain on our environment. Buying local cuts these costs and minimizes pollution. Local farmers significantly reduce their environmental impact by harvesting produce only when it is ready to be consumed, minimizing packaging, and by being good stewards of the land.
Buying locally helps support local economies and promote farm viability. Local farmers tend to invest more in local economies, keeping the money they earn close by. Local food dollars can have a large impact, including job creation. Also, farmers who sell their products directly to consumers earn 90 cents for every dollar they sell; whereas, farmers who sell their products through conventional food distribution systems only earn 20 cents for every dollar they sell. In short, farmers who sell to consumers at CSAs and farm stands are earning almost the full dollar for every dollar sold. When you buy local everybody wins and benefits.
CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture" and refers to a situation in which individuals or groups buy shares in a farm or garden, and in return, receive a regular supply of freshly-harvested produce from that farm throughout the growing season.
By selling directly to member share-holders, farmers significantly reduce their costs - less money spent on fuel and travel - and increase their profits - cutting out third-parties typically involved in moving and selling food. Members also purchase their shares ahead of the season, which provides farmers with advance capital and some financial security in the event of a poor growing season.
CSA's have sprung up throughout the country, including in CT, where many of our farms are selling all of their shares well ahead of the growing season. In many communities, groups such as churches and synagogues, have formed their own CSA's, buying from local farmers, and distributing amongst their own members.
Pick Your Own refers to farms where customers can pick their own products. Pick Your Own businesses include apple orchards; fruit and vegetable farms; and Christmas Tree farms.
While nurseries are generally known for selling plants and flowers, you can also find seedlings, trees, and holiday wreaths. Check out all they have to offer by searching "nurseries" on our site.
buyCTgrown is designed to promote Connecticut grown food and farm products. Please refer to the following list of requirements to determine your businesses' eligibility for this program.
Farms: At least 51% of products sold are grown on own farm in Connecticut. Aquaculture farmers,
including harvesters, must be Connecticut landed
Nursery: Products grown from seed, cutting or plug to next marketable size in own Connecticut nursery
Farmers’ Markets: All fresh produce must be grown within Connecticut
Specialty Food: At least 51% of product ingredients must be supplied by Connecticut producers
Retailers: Products labeled Buy Local Connecticut must contain at least 51% local ingredients
Restaurants & Food Service Institutions: Must be actively buying local products and trying to increase quantity purchased each year
Forest & Fiber: Raw material in product is Connecticut Grown
Organizations & Non-Profits: Must support the mission of Buy Local Connecticut
View a full list of what grows in Connecticut
Connecticut Farm Bureau Association posted on April 1: The Connecticut Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee invites you to a workshop, "Juggling Lessons for Life: How to Manage the Demands of a Busy Life and Stay Healthy" with Eliz Greene, a spokespe >> more
Connecticut Farm Bureau Association posted on April 1: "Processing Acidified Foods in the Farm Kitchen," a hands-on workshop coordinated by Connecticut Farm Bureau to help clarify regulations, review proper harvesting and storing of produce, basics of saf >> more
posted on March 12: Wild Carrot Farm CSA's available now! Enroll by March 15th and receive 5 lbs of free tomatoes! Go to our website at www.wildcarrotfarm.com to sign up. >> more