Wednesday, September 16, 2009

USDA Takes on the Local Focus!

As you walk down the produce section of your favorite grocery store take a trip around the world--your food has. Here in San Diego, where produce grows with ease, I am always amazed at our grocery stores inability to carry more local produce. Albertsons, Vons, and Ralphs rarely have more local options than produce from Peru, New Zealand, Mexico, etc. Fortunately, there are an abundance of grocery stores with a local flare: Henrys, Sprouts, Peoples, Trader Joes, and Fresh & Easy. I realize that other parts of the country are not as fortunate. Now, even the USDA is taking on message of eating local. Check out Chicago Tribune's blog regarding the new program:

Small, sustainable farmers are our neighbors! Are you interested in finding local produce or food products near you? Go to and put in your zip code to find out how you can become a champion of local produce. Here are 5 tips to get you started on becoming a "locavore":
  1. Notice where your produce comes from. Take a glance at the country of origin, and when you can choose your state or a state nearby over outside of the US.
  2. Choose a restaurant that supports local ingredients. Restaurants and chefs are noticing the trend and making strong efforts to offer local produce--use the power of Google and find one in your are (search: Local Produce Restaurant San Diego [or your city]).
  3. Shop a farmer's market for your weekly needs. Although some areas have a shorter season than others for farmer's markets often you can still find a couple that stay open all year long--all you can do is try!
  4. Buy only US produce for a week. Buying in just your state may be a challenge, so instead try to find products that are at least local to the US.
  5. Request more local produce at your grocery store. Whether you frequent HEB, Braums, Albertsons, or Vons you can take ownership in your responsibility by asking your favorite store to buy more local produce--it never hurts to ask!
Best of luck on your quest to become a champion of local produce in your area! All of us benefit!

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