Today, I want to talk about something I am extremely passionate about – and that is getting more local, nutritious foods readily available to people. Sadly, the way we eat in this country is terrible. I am sure that many of you know this, but how many of you are doing something to change it?
You may feel like you cannot do much to have an impact on making quality foods more accessible, and if you feel this way, then you need to change your mindset because YOU CAN!
Each time you spend money on food you are signaling to producers and big business what items you want them to supply. When you go to the grocery store and buy chips, coke, frozen pizzas, etc., you are telling the industry that you like this stuff and want more of it. On the other hand, if you go to farmers markets and local farms to buy food, which I hope many of you try to do, then you are making it easier for these farmers to bring their items to the larger population.
You may be thinking, “My trip to the local farmers market is not going to make that much of a difference”, but if more and more people begin doing this, then it will make a big difference! Stop thinking small and start thinking globally! Your spending behavior influences others in a big way!
Sorry for all of the exclamation points, but like I said, I am very passionate about this.
So you may be asking what are some ways I can help improve the quality of food that is available. Well, here are just a few things you can start with:
1. Go to and shop at local farmers markets. You can also go straight to farmers and buy from them if possible. I realize not all of you will have access to farmers markets, but if you do, then take advantage of them because they are great! The food tastes great, the farmers are usually super nice and willing to answer any questions, and you are supporting the local economy and the environment.
To find local farmers markets around you check out this website: www.localharvest.org
2. Grow your own vegetables. My girlfriend and I just started a garden for the first time last year, and it was awesome! There is nothing better than walking outside and grabbing some fresh veggies to go prepare for dinner – they taste so much better.
3. Raise your own livestock or buy meat in bulk from local farmers. I would love to eventually own some livestock, but as of right now my yard is not quite big enough, and I am pretty sure my HOA would frown upon me having cows and chickens wandering around. 🙂 However, my friends and I did just pitch in and buy a full cow at the beginning of the year from a local farmer. The meat was excellent. In fact, I am almost out and plan on buying more.
4. If you shop at the grocery store, then be conscious of the items that you are choosing. If possible, opt for grass-fed meats and dairy, pastured eggs, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (nuts, avocados, good oils). Try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible (think items in boxes and bags). These food choices will let grocery stores and producers know that consumers are interested in quality food.
5. If you are going to eat out, choose local restaurants or ask the restaurant where they get their meat and produce from. Ask them if they have ever considered local sources. Voice to managers any concerns that you may have such as avoiding vegetable oils.
6. Support local or global organizations that are working hard for this cause. For example, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a great organization to support. Jamie is doing great things to bring quality food into schools. School food is terrible, and I really hope Jamie is able to change this.
Jamie’s Oliver’s Food Revolution website also has current news on topics related to food issues. Here is a recent one on the Farm Bill that will be voted on this year. The Food and Farm Bill only gets talked about every 5 years so go HERE to read about it and let your local representatives know your thoughts.
There are many other great resources out there on the topic if you are interested. Below are some of my favorites.
Anything by Michael Pollan is excellent
I also really like Wendell Berry (some of his stuff is fiction, but his message for local economy and food are throughout his writings). My favorite Wendell Berry fictional book is Jayber Crow.
Sustainable Table – a website dedicated to educating people on food issues.
If you have any other resources on the topic or want to offer thoughts and ideas, then please leave them in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Also, if you enjoyed this post then please share it as I am trying to get more and more traffic to my new site.
Thanks and have a great week!!
10 thoughts on “Make A Positive Impact: Be Conscious Of Your Spending”
Great stuff, Zach. I never understood buying beef from Argentina when there is probably a guy that offers great meat 15 miles away! Great first post and I’m sure there will be many to follow!
Yeah that is so true. Thanks for the comment!
There is a great service in WA that I have recently discovered, called Full Circle
Given that we only have farmers markets (in most areas) for a limited 3-4 months in the Summers, this is a great resource for getting fresh, in season and locally grown produce at your door step. They support small and local farmers and fully disclose their sources on their website.
Another good thing about this is that each time you get different vegetables, some that you have never eaten before and you get to try new stuff.
I usually buy veges and fruits from a local co-op but I want to try these guys too. They are currently only in 3 states though.
Yeah that service looks awesome. I also like that it would almost force you to try new things. Let me know how you like it.
Good stuff Zach-Attack. Strong 2nd for the Jayber Crowe recommendation. I think it is my all-time favorite book. Good luck getting the garden ready this Spring 🙂
Very good point Zach. I hate that it is so hard to get fresh stuff in the markets. We have started going to Whole Foods and Fresh Market and hit every farmers market we can when it’s open for the season. Haven’t been able to find a decent place to buy meat for decent price yet but when I get home we will keep looking. Great website!!
That is the goal – for it to become more readily available. But I think it is great you are making an effort! Thanks for the comment! Hope you guys are doing well!
Great work here Zach, as you know I’m passionate about a lot of the same stuff. I always tell people, “vote with your dollar”. One thing that sometimes irritates me is when people don’t eat meat at all because they are opposed to factory farming. I’m opposed to factory farming as well, but by not getting local meats, it’s basically the same as not voting in an election; you have no say in the matter at all. Buy spending money on local, pastured meats (and produce), you create a demand in this area of the market that will eventually respond by increasing supply. Eventually, this decreases dependence on factory meat and industrial agriculture.
I completely agree, Tyler. That is exactly what I try and tell people. In fact, the original title had “vote with your dollar” in it:). Thanks for the comment! Oh, and I really liked your IF article on Cressey’s site – nice work!