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Comparing local food options like farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and urban farms.
In one of the most encouraging trends of our time, more people than ever are switching to local foods.
In many cases, this movement was born out of necessity.
For example, the quality of the food supply continues to decline rapidly, with the specter of mRNA injections for livestock already here, despite the public being largely unaware of its introduction. (1)
“You’re going to eat the bugs” is not a conspiracy theory. Bug protein is already being added as a secret ingredient to many processed foods in the EU, closely followed by the United States. (2)
In addition, ongoing attacks on our supply chains threaten food shortages with an eventual mass disruption of supply mechanisms. (3)
Local food is the best health insurance
The best insurance policy for these problems is to build your own network of local food sources!
The activist dr. Vandana Shiva even goes so far as to say: “Farmers are the doctors of the future”.
You may pay more for this type of food, but it’s better quality, more nutritious and tastes better!
You can also count on being on first-name terms with the farmers who produce your food.
In this way, precise knowledge of the techniques used, from the seed or the pasture to the table, can be determined quickly and directly.
This is akin to the word-messy email replies you get from customer service reps asking about branded ingredients and production methods.
Once you are ready to cast your vote for the survival of humanity and the planet by buying locally produced food instead of corporate food, you quickly realize that there are three predominant business models available.
- farmers markets
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
- Urban farms
The good news is that all of these options are awesome!
All you have to do is determine which business model best suits your personal routine and approach to grocery shopping. Or use all three if you prefer.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to local food. There is also overlap between the different models. More of that later!
Below I describe each method. As you read, consider what best fits your lifestyle and schedule.
Then get out there and start supporting your local farmers with your grocery dollars!
Farmers’ markets are perhaps the most well-known way to source local groceries.
In this type of business model, a group of farmers gather regularly at a specific location to sell their food and other products directly to the public.
Farmers markets can range from small to quite large. St. Pete’s Market, which hosts around 10,000 visitors every Saturday, is probably the largest and most famous in my community.
However, my tiny community also has a Saturday morning farmers market with only a few vendors.
My husband and I make a point of visiting the farmers market for every out of town place we visit. It gives you a better sense of community than almost anything else!
The only downside to farmers’ markets is that the consumer doesn’t visit the farm directly. This leaves the door open to potential scammers (vendors have been known to buy mass-produced food and pass it off as local).
This issue is addressed by having the Farmer’s Market Coordinator(s) personally visit the farms of each of the Approved Vendors to ensure authenticity.
Also, in my opinion, it can sometimes be difficult to verify that the produce has been grown in soil (hydroponics has a low nutrient density and is not something I will buy).
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is another method of directly connecting farmers and consumers in a mutually beneficial business model.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the surrounding community.
Most commonly, the “share” is a bag of vegetables provided each week during the farming season. However, other agricultural products may also be included.
To participate, consumers purchase a membership share and are typically required to collect it at the farm by a specific time each week.
CSAs can offer a limited number of shares at a discount if a certain number of volunteer hours are committed to the farm.
Urban farms are another local food option that’s on the rise.
The market I shop at in my community (Meacham Urban Farm) is a mix between a CSA and a farmers market.
For example, consumers can purchase a “farm card” to receive product discounts and benefits such as online shopping.
A card is entirely optional, however, as anyone can shop there during business hours, which are more flexible than a typical farmers’ market.
You can also see exactly where the produce is grown, right where you shop.
Beef, chicken, homemade bread and other local foods are also available.
A special feature of the Urban Farms is that they not only market their own products, but also those of other local farms.
As such, their product selection takes on the flair of a farmers market while building the customer loyalty that a CSA provides.
Below is a short video of what I recently bought on my weekly trip to my local urban farm.
What kind of local food suits you best?
Please share links to your favorite CSAs, urban farms, and farmers markets below!
(1) mRNA vaccines for livestock and pets are here now.
(2) Beetles for use in bread, beer and various other items ‘intended for the general public’, courtesy of the EU
(3) Food processing plants and distribution centers burn down. *UPDATE 11* One of the largest US egg suppliers burns down