How to Eat Like a Locavore

English: Produce aisle in the Bashas' grocery ...

Here are some tips to get you started with your locavore adventure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems like there are so many different styles of eating these days that you need a menu of sorts to ensure you always know what it means when someone says “I am a –insert food choice style here-“.  While different people choose how and what they eat based on a variety of reasons, we think there is one eating style that everyone should try out once in awhile, being a locavore.  At its heart, eating like a locavore isn’t about politics or environmentalism or even dieting.  It is about paying attention to where your food comes from and making as many local food choices as possible.  When you eat like a locavore, you support the local economy and local farmers and ensure your family has the freshest food available.

Here are some steps to help you get started with your locavore adventure.

1.     Define Local

The first and often most important step in locavore eating is deciding what local means to your family.  There are no hard and fast rules which means that you can decide if your goal is to eat only things grown or raised with 100 miles of your home or if you want to make sure 20% of your food is from Arizona.  Pick a boundary that makes sense for your family; you can always adjust it as you become more aware of where your food comes from.

2.     Frequent Farmer’s Markets

This is a great way to get a feel for what is available from your local farms and ranches.  It is also an extra bonus for those selling the fruits of their labor because they get a bigger share of the price you pay than they would if you bought the same product from them through a store.  Fill Your Plate has a great farmers market section to help you find some great places to get local products.

3.     Think Seasonal

Eating seasonally and being a locavore often go hand in hand, although, here in Arizona, we don’t have the same kinds of seasonal constraints that other regions do.  Even with the consistently temperate climate, not everything will be available all year round.  To get a feel for what things are in season and more easily available from local vendors at different points throughout the year, visit the Arizona Produce in Season section of Fill Your Plate.

4.     Request Local Products

You can also find great locally grown products at the local supermarket.  You can increase the selection and variety by letting your grocery store manager know that stocking the shelves with local products matters to shoppers like you.

5.     Start Small

Sometimes switching to an all local diet all at once can be daunting.  The good news is, you don’t have to do it all or do nothing.  Starting smaller is a great way to support the local economy without disrupting your family’s diet.  Pick 5-10 foods that you use frequently that can be sourced without your boundary and then build from there.

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