Support Local Farmers
To create food systems that are healthy for both people and the planet, it’s imperative that we invest in local food economies. Buying from nearby farmers and ranchers builds community, encourages seasonal eating, and connects us to the land. Buying locally also empowers you to ask important questions about how your food was grown, or even visit the farm to learn more about it yourself.
Here are a few questions to ask your local farmers with regards to their soil health practices:
It’s incredibly rewarding to connect with local farmers and reap the benefits of locally grown, nutritious, and community supported food. By supporting farmers who care for the soil, we can advance the regenerative food movement–creating consumer demand for food grown in a way that is increasing the carrying capacity of arable landscapes. Do your research, ask questions, and participate in the local food movement in a way that makes a real and tangible difference.
1. How do you keep your soil fertile?
Taking care of the soil can be a complex process. In general, look for farmers who are keeping the soil covered with mulch or cover crops, avoiding major soil disruption or using no-till, and closing the nutrient cycle naturally through the use of animal integration and compost.
2. Do you use synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides?
Some farms may require the use of synthetic inputs as they build up the soil’s fertility, but ultimately these chemicals should be avoided. Many pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers destroy soil life and make their way into both the foods you eat and the water you drink, which can be toxic for your health.
3. Do you rotate crops?
Every crop has a different nutrient requirement. By rotating them around the farm, you can ensure that fields don’t become deficient in one nutrient or another.
4. Who works on your farm?
Support farmers who view and treat their workers as a vital part of the team. Avoid enterprises that are exploiting farmworkers for cheap labor.
Here are 3 ways to Support Farmers and Ranchers Near You:
1. Sign Up for a CSA or Farm Box
The acronym “CSA” is short for “Community Supported Agriculture.” Participants “subscribe” to the harvest of a local farm or a group of farms. In this way, everyone participates in the risks and benefits of local food production. By paying an upfront cost at the start of the season, you receive a weekly supply of whatever fresh foods the farm has to offer – and sometimes you get additional items like soaps, honey, and even flowers! CSAs are a great way to connect with a local farmer and enjoy fresh, seasonal produce each week.
2. Go the Farmers Market
Going to the farmers market each week is a great way to connect with the community and the people who grow your food, and support local farmers. You can ask questions about soil health practices and where and how your food is grown.
3. Donate to Kiss the Ground
Plenty of farmers want to improve their soil health practices but are looking for training, education, funding, and community support. Donate to Kiss the Ground today so we can continue to provide resources for farmers that will help them in their transition to regenerative agriculture.
No matter where you live, there are almost certainly local producers in your area growing organically and raising grass-fed meat – hopefully in a way that is also regenerating land, restoring biodiversity, and feeding the local community. Local food is generally better for the planet (depending on how it’s grown), and it also often provides you access to a wide variety of delicious vegetables, fruits, herbs, and meats. Connect with your neighbors, experiment with new crops, varieties, and flavors, and help contribute to a future we can all feel excited for!