Finding Community by Eating Locally

Earlier this week, I wrote about how having solid communities of friends can be helpful in maintaining good health.
Eating locally can add to your community, not just be adding money to the local economy but by adding friends.

When I go to the local grocer, I may recognize a checker. Maybe a box boy or girl. I don’t know how they got the produce and meat and there are few people there to answer my questions.

Striving to eat better, I have found several communities. There are online communities of like minded people with whom I can read and trade comments on. I can find recipes. There are forums. Locally, there is my local Weston A Price Foundation chapter. I have to admit though the times haven’t worked out for me to attend.

When I asked about raw milk, I talked to a dairy that isn’t as local as I’d like (about four hours away). They do milk drops at homes in the area. I talked to a lovely woman there who was very excited to tell me about the two most convenient drops and about the people they worked with at each one and the days they dropped off. I choose the closest. I have a lovely chat each week with the Woman who hosts the drop. I have created community where I wouldn’t have had I continued to by organic milk at the store.

We purchased a half of a half side of grass fed beef this fall. Our farmer was about an hour and a half away in one direction, but he transports his cows to a butcher about forty miles on the other side of us. My farmer was wonderful. We hadn’t purchased this before and he carefully talked me through everything I needed to know. They followed up with hard copies of invoices via mail. When it came time to pick up our beef they called us a few days later to make sure we could arrange to pick it up.

The butcher was equally helpful. I will definitely do business with these people again. They were nice, thoughtful and both cared about customer service.

At my local farmer’s markets, I have people that I purchase from regularly. I will miss their products through the winter. There’s a man who sells the most wonderful cheeses and sells pastured eggs. I get a fine assortment of mostly brown (and usually one white) eggs every other week. There was a wonderful young woman who manned the stand selling boat fresh tuna. Another man sold clams, muscles and sometimes Live Crab. I wasn’t brave enough to try the live crab!

I talked several times to a woman selling alpaca yarn. I got to meet her alpacas last week along with everyone else at the market. I know the people who sell the fruits and vegetables that I purchase. We are always greeted with a hello and how are you this week. People chat amongst each other. There are booths that came and went but there were those who were there every single week, although sometimes there was a new person running the booth. Although our weather has turned colder, hands are warmed by coffee and hats are worn, those who are there to the end are still friendly and talkative. They are more than happy to guide to where I can find their products through the winter or put me on mailing lists.

Eating locally not only allows me to know my farmer, but my farmer to know me. I keep my money in my community. More importantly I become part of the mesh of community friendships. How did we ever forget that food and friendship go hand in hand?

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.imarenegade_150

Comments

  1. This is a wonderful post about the community of eating real, local food. We also ordered a quarter beef recently, and love the farmer, the butcher, and the grass fed beef! In addition, I was able to ask for all the bones, so we will have a year filled with lovely homemade beef broth.

    I have been ordering other items from a local organic delivery service. I get all my raw milk, pastured eggs and poultry, farm fresh produce (when available), and more through them. I found them before I knew much about farmer’s markets. I continue to support them because they have excellent products, support an orphanage in the Phillipines, and my almost 2 year old son LOVES when we get our groceries delivered every Thursday. We don’t know everyone involved with the business personally, but we know the delivery man and his daughter, and they love to see my son every week too.

    We also are members of a CSA, and that has been so much fun! My fridge and pantry have been full of farm fresh, local produce all summer. I’m so happy they have a winter program too, that begins mid-November. Our farmer is very sensitive to her customers needs.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Local food communities are awesome! šŸ™‚

  2. One of our local (Worthington, Ohio) farmers market’s has a winter market every 2 weeks inside the senior center, another one is going to start using a downtown (Columbus, Ohio) storefront that has been empty for years. There tends to be more crafts and baked goods at these things, but we think the winter markets are still well worth it.

  3. One thing about our local CSAs is that many of them require some time commitment, such as helping out at the distribution point. Others do this to lower the cost of the weekly box. My husband is somewhat picky about his vegetables so I find that choosing things that will get eaten at the Market is more cost effective–although when I was single I did the CSA for awhile and it’s great to learn about new vegies you don’t normally eat!

    Tiki and Kesey, you guys are so lucky. We do have year round markets here but most are a long way away from us…. sigh…

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