Buying local food helps you, the farmers, the economy and the planet

The Enquirer’s recent profile of the area’s farmers markets is a useful guide to where and when people can buy locally grown produce and other dishes. We would like to add a few words on why Farmers Markets are such an important part of the local food scene and an important context regarding their role in feeding our region.

Farmers’ markets saw record numbers and sales last year, a trend that continued into 2021. This is obviously a welcome development, but like so many other industries, the increased interest is also posing some challenges. Farms may not have enough produce, due to vagaries of weather and other factors. The meat was particularly difficult. With increasing consumer demand, a pre-existing bottleneck in meat processing has worsened, with slaughterhouses being reserved until 2022.

Consumers can help farms cope with varying demand by purchasing Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) stocks, which allow consumers to invest in a farm early in the season and receive a box of the. product that the farm produces each week. It also helps when buyers come to the market with an open mind and a willingness to try out what’s available, rather than having a list of items to buy. This approach can also lead to new discoveries, as you can always come up with recipes for any unusual vegetable you might pick up. We strongly recommend that you start with Edible Ohio Valley, which is a regional publication with great stories and recipes on what’s local and seasonal.

In addition to farmers’ markets, resources such as Local Food Connection also allow consumers to tap into local farmers and their products. Local Food Connection is a Cincinnati-based food hub that brings together small farms and makes their offerings available to institutions and restaurants. As restaurants reopen and increase their offerings, finding and eating at businesses that support local small-scale farmers is an added boost to our local economy, as dollars stay here instead of going elsewhere. Prioritizing locally grown foods also produces more nutritious offerings and reduces the carbon footprint of our meals.

It’s not just home-cooked and restaurant-ready meals that benefit from a local approach to food shopping. Parents of Cincinnati public school students support the local food system because the district is a statewide leader in purchasing food from local farmers. CPS is also a national leader through its adoption of the Good Food Purchase Program, which redirects part of the district’s multi-million dollar food budget into the regional economy, creating jobs that remain in the community, promoting a cruelty-free agriculture using healthy local foods. in cafeterias.

Michelle Kovach, owner and head pastry chef of Crackling Crust Microbakery, serves a variety of breads and other goodies at her stall at Deerfield Farmers Market in Kingswood Park, Deerfield Township on June 5, 2021. You can pre-order at cracklingcrust.com and pick up your fresh breads from the market.  The market takes place every Saturday at 9 a.m.  Farmers' markets are booming across the region, offering fresh produce, flowers, and other local items every day of the week.

Farmers’ markets, with their artisan bread and organic eggs, have a reputation for luxury and wealth, but they don’t have to be. Markets across the region reflect their communities, and many strive to expand access to all residents, regardless of their income level. Organizations like Produce Perks Midwest also run programs that subsidize farmers ‘purchases in markets for low-income consumers, helping consumers’ money go even further when they shop locally.

At the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, we are committed to expanding access to local foods for everyone in the region. that of the investigator the list of farmers’ markets is an important guide, and resources such as the Food Guide to the Central Ohio River Valley and Edible Ohio Valley also provide detailed information on where to buy food locally, from ASCs and farmers’ markets to restaurants that prioritize local ingredients. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the regional food scene, and there’s no better time than the height of this growing season to take advantage of all that our local farmers have to offer.

Michaela Oldfield is Director of the Greater Cincinnati Local Food Policy Council.

Michaela Oldfield is Director of the Greater Cincinnati Local Food Policy Council.
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