In 2008, congress officially defined “locally grown” agricultural products as those that are less than 400 miles from its origin, or within the State in which it is produced. While supporting farm stands and seeking local food is not exactly a new idea (after all it used to be the only way we got our food!), seeing a strong presence of local options in supermarkets is relatively new. Today, retailers look to source and highlight local produce and other agricultural goods because they acknowledge it is what their current customers want and what future customers are looking for.
Collaborations with local producers are a seamless way to support the locally grown movement in supermarkets. In many cases, these connections are not with the growers themselves but with an organization that represents them. For example, Marsh Supermarkets in Indiana, are working closely with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Indiana Grown program. This collaboration is helping the ISDA to increase awareness of, and support for, the Indiana Grown movement in many ways including connecting consumers with an in-store kiosk devoted to local agricultural products. Similarly, Hannaford Supermarkets, celebrate local growers through their Close to Home program, which connects each store to the opportunities for local goods in their market. For example, Hannaford Supermarkets in the Hudson Valley in New York work closely with many nearby growers through a collaboration with Hudson Valley Harvest (@HVHarvest). Across the country such programs exist, including Made In Oklahoma, a program that highlights the many local goods created in Oklahoma, which is celebrated through innovative programs at Homeland Supermarkets.
Support local programs in your area by seeking them out, following them on social media and shopping at retailers that support them. Stop into your supermarket or visit the corporate website and hold to find out what they are doing to support local producers…and if they aren’t, ask why not?
For more on how to celebrate your local growers:
- CSA’s…More Than Just Vegetables
- No Farms… No Food
- 10 Reasons to Buy Local
- 9 Ways to Support Your Local Food Community
- Farm to Table: More than Just a Culinary Movement
Recipes that celebrate locally grown: