1. Visit the farmers’ market. One of the oldest types of direct marketing by local farmers, farmers’ markets are not only a handy place to pick up fresh, locally-grown produce, they’re also meeting grounds. Some farmers sell their goods themselves. Take the opportunity to chat with the person who planted and grew tonight’s dinner.
2. Buy something local. If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, seek out locally-grown fruits and vegetables, or local meat and dairy products at your usual grocery store. Stock up: the more you buy, the more money you contribute to local farming.
3. Ask your grocery to carry locally-produced items. Can’t find local produce at your usual store? Well, why not? That’s what you should be asking your store manager. If enough customers request local farmers’ items, your store will likely cater to the demand, supporting local growers in the process.4. Eat at a restaurant that serves locally-grown food. Sometimes “trendy” is a good thing, and that’s definitely the case now that more and more restaurants across the country are buying locally and featuring local items on their menu.
4. Eat at a restaurant that serves locally-grown food. Sometimes “trendy” is a good thing, and that’s definitely the case now that more and more restaurants across the country are buying locally and featuring local items on their menu.
5. Try something new. Been thinking about those grain-fed steaks? Wondering if you can cook kale as well as your grandmother? Stop daydreaming, and take a chance on some new items. You’ll not only help out a farmer, you’ll bring something fresh to your table that just may become a new favorite.
6. Teach a child. Do your kids know where their food comes from, or do they think it all comes from factories and appears at the grocery store? Ensure that farming has a next generation of supporters by talking to your kids about how their food is grown, or read a book together, such as Gail Gibbons’ The Vegetables We Eat.
7. Visit a farm. Many local farmers have organized tours, and even smaller farms will be glad to show you around if you call ahead and schedule a convenient time. Be sure and ask questions about the challenges farmers face and how you can help them continue their work and grow.
8. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group to buy farm shares. CSAs allow you to buy your food directly from the farmer in the form of “shares.” Purchasing shares allows you to receive boxes of the farm’s seasonal produce regularly throughout the season.
9. Volunteer. Farmers’ markets and food co-ops run on the elbow grease of volunteers. Look for an information table or brochure, or call and ask how you can help. Chances are, there’s something you can do to help keep them running, and you may even have unique skills that they’ve been seeking.
10. Plant a garden. You might think growing your own food is in direct contrast to helping farmers, but becoming one is the quickest way to understand what a farmer faces (imagine tending tomato plants on several acres of land). You’ll also develop a taste for fresh, seasonal, locally-grown food that will carry over to your buying habits at the market.
Supporting your local farmers today is one way of paying tribute, but why not make one or several of these ideas a habit? The farmers won’t be the only ones reaping the benefits. You and your family will eat better and live better, too.
Happy Old (and New) Farmers Day.