Farming is a tough business not for the weak of spirit. The rigors of farm life are mentally, intellectually and physically demanding and farm businesses operate under a myriad of variables humans have little control over. Most farmers are motivated to keep up the grueling pace in order to positively change the social and environmental landscape of their communities through healthy food.
This season, with its historically cool and rainy weather, farming has been especially tough. Plantings are behind. Some crops were lost. Hay can’t be cut. Grazing fields are flooded. Stress is high. We can’t change this season’s weather, but we can stand by our farmers and show them extra appreciation and remind them why they’re doing this important, life giving work.
How can you support your local farmers and show them they’re valued?
- Buy their food…regularly. Seek out farmers who are growing their own, not resellers, and bringing it to market or putting it out in their farm store. How do you know if someone grew what they’re selling? Ask…politely. You can also ask your farmers market if they are “growers only.” If this is true, most everything you see on a farmers’ table was grown by them.
- Example questions to ask: Where did you grow this produce? Is this from your farm? What are your growing practices. How many acres of vegetables do you farm?
- Ask stores and restaurants to buy from local farmers. You can share these handy resources with them.
- Spread the good word about why local food matters. Encourage your worksite to start a worksite CSA program or use local caterers for staff meetings/events. Talk to your school about the 10 Cents a Meal program and increasing local food in school lunches. Give some of your CSA share to a friend who hasn’t enjoyed much local food yet. Post information about your trip to the farmers market on social media. Sign up for, and share, the TLD newsletter
- Say ‘Thank You’. Gratitude and appreciation go a long way, whatever the context. Share a kind word of sincere thanks with your farmers for working hard to better their community, care for the land, and bring healthy food to your table. It will mean more than you know.
- Don’t mention the weather. 😉
Kelly Wilson, RDN, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the Director of Community Partners for Taste the Local Difference. Her favorite dark leafy green is collard greens. Share your favorite leafy greens recipes with her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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