How to Become a Locavore

Consuming locally grown foods is not only healthy — it bolsters your community’s economy and supports area farmers. Matt Russell, state food policy project coordinator at Drake Law School, chemical-free farmer and coordinator of the Buy Fresh Buy Local project, shares a few tips on becoming a locavore.

Talk to your grocer. Ask your retailer where your meat and produce are coming from and what is in season. “If you want something, ask them to carry it,” says Russell. “We forget we have the power to change the marketplace by asking for things.”

Join a CSA group. Subscribing to a community supported agriculture (CSA) group gets fresh vegetables delivered to your home or a nearby drop-off point for a fee that goes directly to the farmer. “The majority of Americans have access to a CSA at this point,” says Russell.

Join a co-op. Local food cooperatives provide high-quality food through buying clubs or retail stores that are usually customer-  and worker-owned and operated. Visit www.localharvest.org to find a local co-op near you.

Check the Buy Fresh Buy Local newsletter. “We actually do grow things you can get straight from the farm, co-op or local stores and put them on your table,” says Russell. Search the Internet for a Buy Fresh Buy Local program in your neighborhood. If you’re in the Des Moines area, view the local newsletter at: www.drake.edu/news/dbletter/buyfreshbuylocal

Shop at a farmers’ market. A trip to your farmers’ markets can be a fun outing and help you become more acquainted with your food source. “If you’ve established a relationship with your farmer, you can be eating the world’s best foods as they are harvested each season,” says Russell.

Learn how Carlyn Crowe, internship coordinator for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is making an impact on the local food movement in Des Moines.

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