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Locally Grown: A Community Approach to Agriculture

Locally grown is a term we often hear associated with our vegetables, our farmer’s market vendors, and at our restaurants. Locally grown is not a registered certification but rather just a way for farmers and growers to identify where their produce and products are grown.

 

Locally grown highlights the intensifying interest in our food system sustainability and understanding where our food comes from. While we live in a global food system and rely heavily on the imports and exports of other countries for our produce, dairy, meat, and grocery products, focusing on our local agriculture allows us to support our local farmers, local economy, and the community as a whole. Locally grown can mean different things to different people and farmers, to some it may mean a 50 to 100 mile radius, while to others it could be as far as 400 miles to be considered local or regional. At its essence, the purpose of locally grown is to give consumers a better idea of their food sources, to attach farmers to their community, and to create a connection and responsibility between farmers and consumers.

 

When you see locally grown signs, it is a great idea to ask the farmer/producer where they are located if you can. Learning where your farmers come from helps us better understand our local food system and helps the farmers that produce our food. Small farms, especially in urban areas, often rely on farmer’s markets, CSA subscriptions, and orders to other local establishments for their source of income. Without large contracts, these farmers often don’t have a set idea of what their weekly income may be. This is why CSA or Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions are a great way to support your community farmers. These programs work by having consumers buy a subscription to a set number of vegetable items each week. Customers pay upfront for the season which gives farms an influx of money upfront that can help farmers purchase seeds and necessary equipment for the upcoming season. Joining a CSA is an amazing way to support a farm in your community, try new vegetables, and know where your food comes from.

 

The Jewel of Encanto Farm is planning to start a CSA program of our own in the spring! If you live in the Phoenix area, keep an eye out for more updates about our plans!

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