Why You Should Always Buy Local Food

Why You Should Always Buy Local Food


With the highly noticeable increase in food costs at the local supermarket in the past year – buying local can take away some of the high dollar sting. Because you are buying directly from the farmer, many of the “middle man” costs are eliminated (or at least reduced) so that you can purchase the same produce for less.


You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a wide spectrum of foods (and other goods) at your local farmer’s market. From asparagus to popcorn, from candles to jewelry, from meat to plants…it’s all there for purchase – made by people in your community. Depending on your location, the farmer’s market season can be quite long, which makes the variety even greater as you move through the seasons.

fruits and veggies health benefitsHealth Benefits

Antioxidants galore is what you’ll get when you pick foods from the color spectrum; blue, red, orange, purple, green…all colors should be represented. Each color represents a different antioxidant, which serves a different purpose in your body from helping to fight off some cancers to providing anti-inflammatory properties. Many of the fruits and vegetables also provide loads of fiber which is important for our cardiovascular health as well as gut health. Not to mention the wide variety of vitamins and minerals you will be appreciating. The key is that all of the benefits that are held within in each fruit and vegetable work together to form a synergistic effect. Meaning that they all feed off of each other to do what they need to do. That’s why pulling single nutrients out and taking them as a supplement may not provide us with the assumed result.

Local Support

Buying from your local farmer helps to ensure that they can continue to farm the land they have and bring us the wonderfully nutritious and delicious produce they have been for years.

Environmentally Friendly

With the increase in awareness about our environment, it’s so important to realize that by visiting your local farmer’s market, you are in essence helping to preserve a piece of earth. Did you know that the average fruit or vegetable on your dinner plate has traveled around 1,500 miles to get there? Instead, think of the decrease in those emissions when the farmers down the street drive up to the market and in turn, we only have to travel down the road. Hundreds (even thousands) of miles are cut – which, of course reduces the emissions.

How To Find

Farmers' markets

A lot of times you can do a search on the web for local farmer’s markets by state and county. You can also check with your local University Extension office for more information. There are usually many different locations and times that the farmer’s market is available from weekends to weekdays, mornings, afternoons and evenings. Seek one out and enjoy the many rewards coming your way.

Food Co-ops Work for Everyone


food coop

Democracy exists in many forms, but we rarely pay mind to those forms that govern our basic needs. Take food, for instance. The quintessential example of the democracy of food lies in a subtle, yet widespread movement which combines simple commerce and good health: the natural food cooperative.

A political theory professor once said that only three things are real: you, nature, and the relationship between you and nature: economics. The co-op exists as the nexus of this relationship–the trading post where you and nature thrive off each other.

Co-op owners (also called member-owners) are health-minded shoppers that seek excellence in food quality standards. They prefer quality natural foods and products that have been “grown, processed, packaged, transported and stored without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, artificial additives, preservatives, genetic modification, or irradiation” (New Pioneer Co-op Fresh Food Market info brochure).

healthy food at food coop

The answer to these demands is the natural food co-op; it operates under a system of member governance and is a socially responsible member of the community it serves. The co-op is typically non-profit, which means that any profits accrued by the retail store (after the costs of operation, labor, capital improvements, etc.) are returned to the community through owner specials, public events, educational programs, and charitable donations (Deep Roots Market Owner’s Manual).

Do you have to work at the co-op to be considered an owner? No, but volunteering definitely has some perks. Members who work there, even for a few hours, are entitles to certain benefits.

 Typical Benefits of Member Work Programs

  • Lower prices. Owners can qualify for ranging discounts for volunteering weekly or monthly.
  • Education. Owners who volunteer work hours at their co-ops become more informed shoppers and gain valuable experience in cooperative member work.
  • Meet people with similar environmental and social values.

Working and non-working owners reap the benefits of discounts that usually aren’t available to non-owner shoppers. Owner shares are typically purchased for around $20-$30, and owners make that payment annually to retain their portion of the shared equity.

food coop member-ownerAs a co-op owner, you have rights and responsibilities. Owner rights primarily include enjoying the benefits discussed earlier, particularly product discounts; receiving information; participating in co-op leadership and governance, which often includes voting in co-op elections; volunteering work hours; and shopping in an environment that reflects the co-op’s mission and beliefs (Davis Food Co-op Owner’s Manual).

Owners are obligated to support the co-op with their purchases, and to treat the store as if it were their own (because technically, it is). Furthermore, owners are encouraged to take an interest, and make use of the information available to them concerning the co-op and the community at large. You can choose your level of participation, but remember that the co-op can only act in your interest when you articulate it.

Keep in mind, too, the structure for co-op governance; it is an interdependent, hierarchical system, of which presidents, board members, voters, and regular shoppers are all of indispensable value. The co-op is an entity “comprised of individuals who place the long-term viability of the co-op ahead of the aim of maximizing individual financial benefits” (Deep Roots Market Owner’s Manual).

Altruism and democracy prevail at a properly functioning co-op. Use it to your advantage.

Common PPC Mistakes

Common PPC Mistakes

Pay per click advertising is a great way to get a product or service noticed. However, if it’s not done properly, one can waste a lot of time and money. Here are some PPC mistakes to avoid.

Insufficient Keyword Research

Keyword research is not something that can be done on the fly. While it’s a good start to jot down keywords that are relate to the target industry, one must also research what people are actually searching for.

When making a list without any research behind it, there is a tendency to be too general. By using keyword research tools, users can find long tail keywords that will boost the effectiveness of the PPC campaign.

Not Monitoring Campaigns

Common PPC Mistakes - not monitoring campaigns
Pay per click advertising is not a task one can set and forget. Campaigns need to be constantly monitored for effectiveness. Users need to ensure their ad is being seen, clicked on, and is converting.
What headlines are leading users to the complete the goal action? Does one set of copy produce more results than another? Are certain keywords not as effective as planned? All of these are questions that need to be asked and answered.

Not Linking to the Relevant Landing Page

Linking to home page instead of a specific page is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when running a PPC campaign. They’ll pick out specific keywords, write a great ad geared towards those words, and then link to the sites homepage.

When clicking an ad, users don’t necessarily want to go to the sites home page. They want to go to the page that is relevant to their query. So if someone searched for “dog collars”, don’t set the URL to a pet supply store’s homepage- take the user to the page with the dog collars.

It takes more work to target each ad to a specific landing page but that is what is going to bring results.

Using a Telephone Number

The likelihood of someone picking up the phone after viewing a PPC ad is virtually non-existent. A PPC ad is not a billboard, so using a phone number is a waste of space.

The space allotted for the ad text should be used to write convincing copy in order to get an online conversion.

Using the Wrong Metrics

It is important to know the most important metrics to look at when measuring the results of your advertising campaigns. Measuring an ads click through rate (CTR) is not as important as measuring the conversion rate. It can be tempting to look at the CTR and be encouraged if the number is high, but with pay per click advertising, the most valuable metric is the conversion rate. It doesn’t matter how many people click on the ad if no one buys anything or signs up for whatever is being offered.

Common PPC Mistakes - developing an seo strategy

Being educated is the first step in running successful PPC campaigns. Business owners should also be interested in developing an SEO strategy for their businesses.

Prescription Sunglasses

For anyone who wears glasses regularly, summertime can be a real drag. You need to constantly switch between your regular glasses and your sunglasses, and light sensitivity and glare can make summertime activities a real hassle. But prescription sunglasses or breathable water-gradient contact lenses offer a simple solution.

One of the best summer pastimes is reading a book by the pool. But if you need prescription glasses to read, a few minutes out in the sun squinting at those tiny words will leave your eyes feeling tired. Prescription sunglasses incorporate your ordinary prescription into a tinted lens – so you get all the benefits of your reading glasses while blocking out that bothersome glare.

Many sports people have vision impairments, and wearing prescription sunglasses enables them to give the best performance possible while out in the sun. Skiers, in particular, find prescription sunglasses invaluable on the slopes, and many of them choose amber lenses, which give high contrast to large white patches of snow.

Prescription lenses come in many different colors, and each color suits specific circumstances. For example, grey lenses preserve “true” colors in bright sunlight, and are best for construction workers or those who do a lot of driving.

Prescription sunglasses can also be extremely beneficial for people with achromatopsia (complete color-blindness) or other light-sensitivity issues. They can even help minimize vision loss in conditions like macular degeneration.

Prescription sunglasses can have a number of different coatings to enhance their features. A polarized coating can block sunlight from entering your eye, while anti-reflective coatings prevent the lens from reflecting light, giving you greater visibility.

When choosing frames and lenses for your prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses, it’s important to opt for quality materials.
Your glasses not only have to look stylish – they’re going to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, as well as wearing moisturizing contact lenses with 90% UV protection will help you to see better outdoors. The type of lens and frame you choose depends on your lifestyle – children may opt for durable polycarbonate lenses and plastic frames to prevent breakages, while the fashion-consciousness may choose glass lenses in a trendy metal frame.

Whatever your eye condition or lifestyle, prescription sunglasses can help you overcome vision issues when you’re outdoors. Prescription sunglasses combine the corrective power of your everyday lenses with the tints and UV-protective technology of high-end sunglasses, and they’re the perfect solution for anyone with a vision impairment who suffers in an outdoor environment.

Can Organic Farming Practices Replace Conventional Methods?

Environmental degradation due to unsustainable agriculture necessitates the need to replace conventional methods with organic farming practices. According to a Greenpeace Environmental Trust report, organic farming doesn’t require the use of chemical aids such as fertilizers and pesticides for farming, hybrid seeds, restriction of farm animals to enhance growth and use of machinery for harvesting. The report contends that use of these substances has “destroyed wildlife and crop diversity, poisoned people and ruined the soil” (p. 4).

Can Organic Farming Practices Replace Conventional Methods?

Consequently, organic farming advocates natural alternatives for improving soil fertility and increasing production. To maintain the required ecosystem equilibrium the report advises that farmers should shift from using chemical aids to crop rotation, use of antagonistic plants, intercropping, use of physical barriers and biological control agents to control pest infestations and diseases. Manual weeding and handpicking are also encouraged rather than using herbicides and machinery. Further use of green manure and compost to improve soil fertility and practicing mixed livestock farming for improved productivity is recommended.

Benefits of and Challenges Towards Organic Farming Adoption

The main advantage of organic farming practices over conventional methods is thus in addressing environmental concerns of farming. Though appropriate application of chemicals in agriculture may not have immediate harmful impacts on the environment, their cumulative effects may prove hazardous. By effective use of alternatives to chemicals in controlling diseases and pests, the adverse environmental impacts of agriculture are minimized. The focus of organic farming on maintaining ecosystem equilibrium may thus be the best action to minimize the depletion of existing natural resources, to promote environmental integrity.

humane treatment of farm animals

Secondly organic farming as advanced in the report could have an ethical edge over its conventional counterpart. The humane treatment of farm animals and use of manual labour to prevent unnecessary replacement of human resources with machinery confers organic farming with a superior ethical rating. Further the concern for environmental outcomes of farming buttresses the ethical argument of organic farming practices. In a different journal commentary, however, the argument that organic farming takes farming out of reach of the ordinary farmer, hence depriving them off their income, counters its ethical rating.

On the drawbacks of adopting organic farming practices productivity and cost aspects rank high. It is argued in the commentary that the agrarian revolution advances employed in modern day farming helped to increase productivity with limited resources. For organic farming practices to achieve such a productivity rating then massive land and manual labour input may be necessary. In locations where the land and labour availability are limited the economical benefits of farming would not be readily realized with an organic farming approach.

Secondly, by using cost intensive production techniques organic farming products attract exorbitant prices in the market. This is irrespective of their nutritive superiority over conventional foods being largely perceived rather than evidence-based, as argued in the commentary. Such high prices of organic foods may thus outstrip the purchasing ability of many families. With these propositions the applicability of organic farming to solve global food scarcity may not be evident.

In conclusion the replacement of conventional farming practices with organic farming practices may not be readily realizable. Much of the challenge of the process stems from its economic unsoundness of employing high production cost alternatives. Similarly the production capability of organic farming may not meet the current world food demand. Organic farming however presents a best practise to reducing adverse environmental impacts of farming.

Farmers’ Markets Offer Bounty and Bargains

locally produced food

Down on the farm, freshness and variety may be nearer than you think. Farmers’ markets are catching on all over the country, and new markets are popping up every year. The only way you can beat the freshness is by strapping on a green thumb and growing the produce yourself.

The New Farmers’ Market Eco-Friendly, Big and Bustling

When you think of local weekend markets for fruits and vegetables, the image of a few makeshift tables with limited fare may come to mind, but times are changing fast.

Farmers’ markets now provide more variety and an eco-friendly approach to bringing the freshest and most savory produce to your table. Whether you opt for organically grown goods that lose the pesticides in favor of a cleaner and safer yield, or just like the idea of eating a salad for dinner that was picked fresh a few hours ago, the farmers’ market has something tasty to offer.

Farmers’ Markets Offer Better Products at Bargain Prices

You can leverage your shopping excursion into a great deal too. If you expand your culinary repertoire to include peaches, beans, squash, cabbage and other produce when it’s in season, you’ll be eating a more nutritionally balanced diet and taking advantage of a surplus of perishable products priced to move quickly. Local products incur lower fuel and storage costs too, and that’s good for the environment and your pocketbook.

Another unexpected advantage to buying locally is that it may increase your exposure to new varieties of the vegetables you already love. National chains buy in bulk and limit themselves to produce varieties that look good and travel well. These aren’t always the most flavorful fruits and vegetables available. When you buy from local growers, you have access to heirloom strains with subtle flavor and textural differences that can be a lot sweeter and more appetizing than what you’re used to. They might not be as pretty as their grocery store counterparts, but they can have a more intense flavor and better texture.

Vine Ripened Freshness Daily at Your Farmers’ Market

Farmers' markets

If these things aren’t enough to encourage you to take a stroll through your local farmers’ market, consider the idea of freshness itself. Most of the vegetables you buy through your neighborhood grocer where picked before they ripened. Those bright tomato red and green pepper colors you’re admiring are the result of forced ripening using ethylene gas, not the healthy, natural ripening process that relies on sunlight and time. For the best nutrition, texture and flavor, farm fresh products and not chemical sleight-of-hand is always superior.

The next time a crisp apple, juicy pear or some homemade stir fry sounds good, support your local economy, encourage eco-friendly practices and give your taste buds a treat by checking out a farmers’ market near you.

How to Find Local Food Sources

How to Find Local Food Sources

Many people are realizing the benefits of eating local food and supporting local food producers such as small farmers. Although going to the farmer’s market in the summer is a great way to get your hands on local produce, there are many other ways to ensure the local eating continues throughout the entire year. However, many people find that tracking down these sources can be difficult at first. Online resources are helping to change that as more and more people get connected with local farmers and growers.

Find Local Farmers

If you have no idea where to start on your hunt for local food sources, there are websites that provide the information you need. You can input your zip code and search for farmers. Many times the farmers will have websites that highlight what they provide such as eggs, grass-fed meats or produce. If they frequent farmer’s markets, you may be able to find that out here as well. The location of each farm or person is provided, as is a phone number. This is an excellent starting point for those seeking to eat more local foods and support their small farms.

It would be great if you acquire a list of farmers in your local area and their contact information. You will find once you start digging around that many farms are connected to help get the word out that provide certain products.

How to Find Small Farms

Sometimes, small farms may not be listed online, but they still provide produce or eggs that might be closer to where you live and/or offer a cheaper price on the same product. Many times, finding out about these farmers is possible only by word of mouth. Ask around and see who you get referred to. Sometimes these farmers will make their appearance at the summer farmer’s market – make sure to introduce yourself and get their contact info so you can get ahold of them throughout the year. Many times, these type of farms will offer Community Support Agriculture programs to get involved with. Several will offer mailing lists to sign up for so you can keep in touch with what’s going on.

How to Find Farmer’s Markets

Another way to find out about the local markets is to contact the local government, as they often have information about farmer’s markets posted on their websites.

If all else fails, ask around. Those who are deeply supportive and involved with the local food movement will be able to tell you where to find the best markets and farmers.

What is Organic and Why Does it Matter?

organic food benefits

A lot of shoppers have probably noticed more and more “organic” labels and sections in the supermarket over the past few years. In the produce section, in the meat department, and even in the freezer section, more and more foods are being certified as organic. So what exactly is all the hype? What does it mean if something is labeled organic?

What Organic Food is

Organic food includes not only plants that are grown in a particular way, but also the way in which animals are raised. Organic plants are grown without the use of chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizers. While there are organic fertilizers and pesticides, they don’t involve the use of toxic chemicals. Some organic farmers use the simplest of pesticides, such as ladybugs! Fertilizers that are used don’t involve chemicals and also avoid sewage sludge.

Organic meat comes from animals that have been raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Further, animals that are certified as organic are typically healthier than animals grown in commercial feed lots. These animals usually eat safer food which means that consumers down the road are eating healthier food as well. Finally, animals that come from organic farms are usually treated more humanely than animals from commercial farms.

organic farmingOrganic farming practices ensure that vegetables, fruits, and other plants have not been contaminated by chemicals. The soil is also non-toxic, the water supply is clean, and the air is free of clouds of chemicals. Organic farming means too that the farmers are caring for their environment.

Foods that are labeled organic must be certified by the appropriate agencies. It must meet particular standards, so consumers know that what they’re buying is what it says it is.

Why Eating Organic Food is a Good Idea for One’s Family

Organic food, first of all, has numerous health benefits as discussed above. It is environmentally sound and is healthier for the environment. In the case of meat products, it is also better for the animals that are raised on these farms.

There are other reasons why eating organic food makes sense. Most organic farms are small when compared to commercial farms. They are usually run by smaller families making an honest living. The money paid for these foods directly supports these small farmers.

How to Buy Organic Food

why buying organic food mattersToday, most supermarkets have organic food sections. Consumers need only look for the labels that say the food is organic. Farmer’s markets will usually sell lots of organic food as well.

For customers who want to be assured that their organic food hasn’t been contaminated in any way by commercial foods, check out stores that sell only organic foods, so you can be satisfied that anything they buy at that store is organic.

Organic is the Way to Go

Whether one is growing his own garden, supporting the local farmer’s market, or buying fruit from the organic section at the grocery store, he can feel better knowing that organic food is a healthy, humane, environmentally-friendly way to go.