Eating local is an important way to reduce our carbon footprint and support our local farms and communities. Locally grown food just tastes better…nutrient-dense and so incredibly fresh. When you know where your food comes from (and that it hasn’t been transported from the other side of the country or even another country altogether), you know more about your food and have a stronger connection to it.

I was recently informed by Insa Elliot, the founder of Market 2day (an app that connects you to farmers markets and delivers to your door), that only 3% of people in America have a diet rich with locally-sourced foods. I could not believe this statistic. It’s horrible! With all the farms and food sources available to us year round, we should be helping our environment and building our communities by eating locally whenever possible. Here are some of my favorite & easy ways to do so:

– Now that it is summertime, fresh produce is in full swing. My body craves it more this time of year so I am so thankful for the abundance of local farmers markets. As produce is available seasonally here, you can come home with new, exciting items each week. Almost every town in our area now has some sort of farmers market to promote local vendors and farms. Taking to the time to visit them even once or twice a month is a fun way to meet and connect with your local farmers and really enjoy the the fresh harvests. Actually speaking to the people who grow your food, instead of knowing it comes from a large corporation, gives you a new appreciation for the food you are going to enjoy. I love exploring new farmer’s markets and trying new items each time I visit them.

– So many restaurants are now incorporating locally-sourced food on their menus now as well (Clandestine Kitchen’s home and corporate meal delivery incorporate local, organic ingredients in abundance during these summer months!). Farm-to-table restaurants are popping up more and more and these options are a great choice when deciding where to head out to eat (especially on date night)! A current new favorite restaurant of mine is The Tasty in Plymouth. If you are in the area I absolutely recommend you check it out!

– Grocery stores are also taking notice and starting to stock with more and more local products and produce. Locally-grown produce might be a little more expensive than the big box items – but they are picked at their peak ripeness for fresh taste and, of course, supports local farmers (a win-win if you ask me). Whenever I see a sign in the grocery store that an item was grown locally I usually by it (thank you Fruit Center Marketplace and Pinehills Market)!

– An easy way to eat local – and share that passion within your family – is to grow your own garden. This time of year my garden is in full swing and my kids love watering it and watching all the vegetables grow (they even love picking and eating fresh off the vines). I don’t know about you, but when I care for, and grow, a vegetable myself I enjoy eating it that much more than if it was just off the shelf at a grocery store. It can be impossible to get my 3 year old to eat vegetables, but if he helps mom get it from the garden, he loves to indulge.

It may not be possible to eat local all of the time – but making conscious decisions to do so when we can makes a big difference. Next time you take the effort to eat local I want you to connect with the story of the food you are eating. I promise it will be that much more enjoyable!