Buying locally produced food has many benefits – it helps to protect the environment by lessening the transportation of goods it supports the local economy and local producers, and it enables you and your family to eat fresher food from a known source. And for children and families, it can be great fun to buy too!
Encouraging Children to Buy Locally
For many children, ‘local produce’ probably means little more than whizzing to the corner shop for a packet of crisps or a pint of milk! But there are ways to get your children interested in and aware of the importance of buying and sourcing local produce – and if they are introduced to it young enough, it will soon become second nature!
Younger children will be enthralled by a trip to a farm that culminates in a visit to the farm shop to see, touch and taste the produce made on site. And it doesn’t have to just be food stuffs; many farm shops sell handmade soaps, crafts and homewares – all things that can make children more aware of their environment, and the importance of traditional crafted items over mass produced, overly packaged environmentally-unfriendly goods. There are several ways you can introduce your family to local produce:
Pick Your Own
What could be nicer than cooking up fresh fruit and veggies that you’ve selected and picked yourself?
Pick your own farms and orchards can make for a fun family day out where no two visits will be the same! Depending on the location of the farm, the time of year and the weather, you never quite know what will be waiting for you! Most pick your own farms have other facilities on site, like a café or farm shop, so it could be a good idea to visit before you actually plan to ‘pick’ and get yourself a crop calendar and a ‘feel’ for what picking-your-own entails! Remember to wear old clothes and shoes when you go picking – juices from fruit and vegetables will stain.
Turn a trip to the store for the weekly veggie shop into a fun and educational visit!
Farm shops offer wonderfully fresh produce harvested and offered for sale during its ‘season’, so you can be sure you are getting the finest fruit and veg grown as nature intended – not artificially reared to satisfy year round demand! At your local farm shop you’ll often be able to talk to the growers and producers and find out about their growing methods and what is coming into season and when. Making a regular visit could stimulate and foster your children’s interest in healthy eating and the environment.
There are now many companies around offering organic box deliveries – basically, fresh produce delivered directly to your door on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Beware though if you select a company that isn’t delivering from a local outlet – some suppliers are nationwide operations who deliver out to local operatives who then in turn deliver the boxes on to the customer. Look out instead for local farms in your area offering box deliveries to ensure your goods are fresh from the farm, not a refrigerated truck that’s spent hours and hours on the motorway!
Farmers’ markets have been a huge trend for the past few years now, offering local produce, direct from the grower, to the public. By definition, all good’s at a farmer’s market should be have been grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed by the seller. To ensure that only the best quality produce is sold the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association (generally known as FARMA) certifies farmers’ markets and independently asses them.