Frequently Asked Questions

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? |

What is local?

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.

Source: www.sustainabletable.org

Why buy local?

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)

  1. The taste factor -The average item on your dinner plate travels over 1500 miles before it reaches the consumer. On the route to the supermarket, which can take as many as fourteen days, many valuable nutrients are lost (plus your food is often made appealing through artificial means, including gassing and dyeing).
  2. Stronger communities through local economies -Local farmers tend to invest more in their local communities , keeping the money they earn close by. Local food dollars can have a large impact!
  3. Farm viability -Through the conventional food distribution system, farmers, on average, receive less than twenty cents for every dollar of food they produce. Farmers who sell directly to consumers at farmers\' markets receive on average 90 cent per dollar of food they produce. Farmers selling to consumers at their own farm stands and CSA\'s are earning the full dollar for each dollar of food produced!
  4. Environment -Food that travels further tends to be monocropped translating into less genetic diversity, lower food security, more intensive use of agrochemicals, and more packaging than do local foods. In addition, the 1500-mile trip most food makes from farm to table expends significant energy resources. Local food, overall, has less of an impact on the environment.
  5. Farmland Preservation -One hundred years ago 80% of our land was farmland. In Connecticut, we lose over 9,000-10,000 acres of farmland a year and remaining farmland is less than 12% of our land area. In fact, CT has the dubious distinction of ranking first in percentage of farmland lost from 1997-2021 - almost 13%.Preserving local farms preserves open spaces and keeps communities intact. Many farmers do not completely develop their farmland meaning that much of this farmland is precious habitat for Connecticut\'s wildlife.
  6. Fairer Taxation -Much of our lost farmland is developed into housing and commercial spaces, which use more services than they provide back in taxes. For every dollar a farmer pays in taxes, $0.20 to $0.30 is used in services, while a development uses approximately $1.17 in services for every dollar paid to the community through taxes.
  7. Diversity -Commercially available food is produced for travel and durability not for taste. Local farms produce delicious varieties of produce that can't travel very far and are not likely to be seen in a supermarket.
  8. Nutrition -Local foods are usually sold within 24 hours of when they are picked, which means they have most of their nutrients intact. Our farms are also proud of what they have less o pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals.
  9. Community -Buying locally means being in touch with the seasons and the farmers who produce the food, and maintaining the honored connection between farmer and household. Farmers' markets, for example, become a way to bring together a wide cross-section of the community, week after week, during market season.

Sources:
http://foodroutes.org/whycare3.jsp
http://organicconsumers.org/btc/btcwhy.pdf
http://www.ctfarmland.org/basic.html?page=preservation
http://www.foodpc.state.ct.us/farmland_preservation.htm
http://www.salmonnation.com/tale/Tale_of_Toms_FF.pdf
http://agmarketing.extension.psu.edu/images/fooddollar1.gif
http://www.greensgrow.org/pages_04/10reasons.html
http://www.organicconsumers.org/btc/14reasons.pdf

How does buying local help the environment?

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.

How does buying local help the economy?

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.

What is a CSA?

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.

What can I pick at a Pick Your Own farm?

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.

What can I find at a Nursery?

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.

  
What eligibility requirements must businesses meet to be on this 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

In Season

Red Wine | Eggs | Honey | Wine | Brown Eggs | White Wine | Farmstead Cheese | Buttermilk |

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Farm News & Happenings

posted on October 1: Open thru Oct. 28th Scantic Valley Farms' Giant Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. Open Sat-Sun & Columbus Day 11-Dusk. Kiddie Maze, Hayrides,Play Area, animals, General Store, and our CT Grown foods! >> more

buyCTgrown posted on September 24: Fresh is local on Saturday, October 27th,as the Wheeler Library holds the North Stonington's first farm to table dinner -A Local Affair-featuring meats, scallops, produce, honey, cheeses and o >> more

buyCTgrown posted on August 2: The Department of Agriculture's Farm-to-Chef week is September 16th-22nd! Are you a restaurant, school or institution that uses locally grown food? Register now and promote your farm-to-chef m >> more

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