Why is supporting local farms so important? Here you’ll find that question answered by farmers, homesteaders, chefs, and more! Learn why supporting your local economy and sourcing seasonal food is one of the most important things we can do, and how it benefits future generations.
”We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.” – Jenny Uglow
As someone who has spent the last 10+ years living in an agriculture area (both small and large scale), as well as being someone who cannot stress the importance of sourcing local foods enough, and honestly, as someone who has a love of all things local, loves supporting small businesses and my local farmers market. I knew when this idea popped into my head last year, I had to make this post and share these things with you!
I’m not a farmer myself, or a homesteader, though I have grown many gardens in my life, and helped to rise chickens, ducks, and cows. I’ve gotten to experience the joy of gathering eggs, milking my own cow, and cooking dinner with veggies I just picked from the garden.
And though I can’t claim to be an expert in this area, I can say as someone who has spent the better part of my life living around farms and farmers, that I understand why supporting my local farmers and community is so important, knowing where your food comes from, how it is grown and raised, is important.
Supporting your local markets, sourcing fresh food and buying from small farms, and supporting the hardworking individuals we call farmers is something that makes a bigger difference than we even realize.
Why I support my local farmers
As a home cook, former chef, and lover of food. I can’t tell you often enough how important fresh in-season foods are. The fresher the food the better the meal you make will be. But for me personally buying local isn’t just about having good food. It isn’t just about improving my skills and the meals I put on the table, for me it’s a way of life. Ever since I was little I’ve been helping to support my local farmers, from going strawberry picking every summer to apple picking every fall. To making more trips to our local farmer’s markets than I can even count.
At first, I fell in love with local foods, because the difference between something freshly picked and eaten and anything I could buy from the grocery store was mind-blowing. And for a long time that was as far as it went.
But when we moved out to the country, to a heavily agricultural and farmer-populated area. I began to realize there was so much more to sourcing local foods, and so many reasons to do it. Below you’ll find a list of my top reasons for supporting my local farmers and sourcing locally-grown foods.
- Supporting a farm isn’t just about supporting a business, you are helping to preserve someone’s livelihood and way of life.
- Small farms are dying off at an alarming rate, due to large-scale agriculture. Supporting your local farmers is a way to support all small farms across the country. It’s a way to help save a tradition and lifestyle as old as time.
- When you buy from your local farmers, you aren’t just supporting them and their businesses. You are also supporting your local community, and helping to build a stronger closer community.
- Sourcing locally grown foods means not only do you know where your food is coming from. But you also know who is growing it, and how it’s taken care of, and processed. How animals are raised, cared for, and butchered. It takes the guesswork of trying to figure out whether the food you eat is sustainably grown and cared for. Besides nothing beats fresh produce, dairy products, and local meats!
- Buying locally and supporting the farmers around you, allows you to be a part of something bigger. To help create a local and sustainable food supply. It gives you the chance to not just invest your money in great food but also to support someone’s dreams, hard work, and the future of agriculture in the united states.
I could go on, and if you ever speak to me in person, I likely will. But for time being I would like to share some thoughts and reasons to support local farms and farmers from others around the country(and beyond!), and from a variety of different walks of life.
Why do others support their local farms/farmers?
”I’m delighted to know I’m supporting our local grass-fed beef farmer’s business and our community while nourishing our family. We can communicate with him personally and know exactly how he raises the animals and are supporting good health and the community at the same time!”
-Carol Terney Federoff of My Wellness Basket
”Sourcing food from local farmers is more than just trying to find food without the use of pesticides or growth hormones. It’s about sourcing food the way God intended – raw, unaltered, and full of nutrients. It’s beyond organic.
It’s about feeding your family raw honey local to your area to help with allergies, beef from grass-fed cows, meat from chicken that foraged the pastures, eggs with nutrient-dense orange yolks, and non-homogenized dairy that doesn’t harm your health – all while supporting and building your community, friends, and neighbors.
We all want to do the best for our families. As a wife, a mother, and a supporter of our local farmer’s market, the food I source and feed my family is of great importance to me and worthy of sacrifices to be able to do so. ”
-Lauren Adams of The Bluebonnet Farmhouse
”There’s a lot of purposes and feeling involved in supporting local farmers. It means a lot to me when shoppers come out and support my stand at the farmers market where I sell baked goods and beeswax food wraps. We’ll get up early on a Saturday morning and load up the last-minute items into the market van, the lunch box on the front seat, the early morning sunrise to admire as we drive, and the anticipation of the day upon us. On the way home, we are smiling with satisfaction at the good customer traffic and sales we had, while the cash box is jingling on our laps.
Whether I am shopping or attending a farmers market, I love the feel and aesthetic that is present. There is a sense of community, trust, and gratitude that is shared between the buyer and seller. When you support locals, you are supporting someone’s dream. ”
-Rebecca Horner of Cinnamon Rolls and Mixing Bowls
“As both a veterinarian and someone who believes in good stewardship in general, it’s clear to me that every local community is dependent on the land around it. Which is, in turn, dependent on the people who work it. Building a local food web is good for both people AND places. It improves nutrition, builds local wealth, and strengthens community ties.”
– Holly Stockley of Brambleberry Meadow
“As a homemaker in the Canadian prairies, local farmers are a primary resource for my family’s supply chain. We value the fair prices, ethics of the farmers, and the quality of the product we receive. Buying in bulk and preserving our food keeps our expenses lower so we can thrive as a single-income household. I get to be at home full-time with my children to raise and homeschool them. What could be better?”
-Julie Voth of Mrs. Prairie Wife
What supporting your local agriculture means to farmers
”I am a first-generation farmer. Our family raises a small flock of sheep for wool & meat. When our clients buy from us, they aren’t just supporting us, but helping to keep a rural economy going that includes a spinning mill, a shearer, a hay cropper, a butcher, a tanner, and on and on… supporting a small farmer directly can have a big impact.”
-Anna Brown of Tapestry Homestead
”I was a farmer before I became a mother, but now being a mom comes first when I describe myself. Being a farmer though is so similar to mothering. Looking after animals, nurturing seeds, and making sure everything has the care and attention they need to thrive and flourish.
I am part of a food ecosystem. I not only provide food for my community but I also buy it from them in turn. Rather than spending money on food shipped from across the country or even the world, our dollars stay here locally. The money I spend on grass-fed beef supports another farmer and helps him continue his work on land rejuvenation and feeding more people. The tallow that comes with my beef I turn into soap, which I can then sell back into our local economy.
When people choose to buy my eggs, milk, soap, or candles, it is such a wonderful feeling. I get to connect with my customers directly. I get to share with them my passion so they know how much care and thought goes into each product I bring for them.
When I purchase from another local producer, I get to be on the other end. I get to bring home a product made with love and attention while at the same time supporting a small farmer and their livelihood.”
-Kelsey Wulf of Rough & Tumble Farmhouse
Homesteader’s thoughts on supporting your local farming community
”My husband Philip and I are pursuing a homesteading lifestyle to provide food security for our family. While we watched the challenges of the commercial food industry over the past several years we were convinced even more strongly that the path we were walking was essential. It’s important to us to raise ethically raised and harvested animals for meat production. Knowing exactly how the animals were cared for, what they were fed, and how they were treated throughout their life is an important part of our lifestyle. We currently source over 90% of our meats even before we make the move to our forever homestead permanently. Currently, our ability to provide a large portion of our vegetables and fruits is hindered by our temporary living situation.
However, our goal will be to raise a large portion of garden-raised organic vegetables ourselves. Until then, we are planting fruit trees on our homestead property that will need time to mature. We also source vegetables from our Amish neighbors to fill in the gaps of what we are unable to grow on our own. Our desire to consume REAL food, not food-like products fuels us as we pursue this homesteading dream.”
-Barbra-Sue Kowalski of Kowalski Mountain
”I am a mom and a new homesteader who has recently realized how important good quality food is for the health of her family. Currently, I support local farms by buying milk from them.
It is very important to me to support local farmers so that good food will continue to be available and so that they can pass on their knowledge of how to live healthy sustainable lives to the next generation.”
-Naomi Scott of The Virtuous Home
”As an urban homesteader with a passion for local food, supporting farmers matters a lot to me. I love self-sufficiency and taking part in growing my own food, but I can’t do it all. And I don’t want to do it all. Supplementing my homegrown food through community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares and farmers’ markets is a joy and a privilege. By sourcing local food, I get to invest in my community, know my neighbors, and support something larger than myself.”
-Tessa Hollmann of Sprig & Spoon
”I am a homesteader on a small growing farm in New Hampshire. I grew up in Texas, surrounded by big businesses where many small businesses and small producers could hardly compete. When I moved to New Hampshire a few years ago, I discovered a flourishing community of small businesses and local producers. When you get to meet the hard-working people behind your locally produced products and food, you feel more inspired to support their dreams and their goals. You feel better about where your money is going. You invest in people and you invest in quality.
As a homesteader, it is not sustainable to grow all of your own food. And, it is unrealistic to be able to do so within only a few years of getting started. It can take 10 years or more to build up and establish a self-sustaining homestead. Even then, you may be only able to produce upwards of 80% of your own food and products.
To be successful in homesteading, you need a community. Others to learn from and lean on in tough times. To divide and conquer is to be successful and the only way for local farmers and producers to continue to flourish. If we try to do it all ourselves, burnout and failure are inevitable. But when you invest your time and energy into a few things that you can do well and invest in others who are doing what they do well that is different from you, that is how we sustain and succeed.”
-Bailee Ethridge of The Homesteading Yogi
Easy ways to start supporting your local farmers
Support your local farms, is about creating personal relationships, and getting to know your local families and farmers. And the owners behind both large-scale and small scale farms. It’s about sourcing the freshest food and helping to build your local communities and local businesses.
These are things that can take years, and the journey to learning how to source your food locally and support sustainable agriculture can often seem long. But I promise it’ll be one of the best dissension you’ll ever make!
Not only is it a great way to improve your cooking and the meals you make. But it also has an environmental impact and gives your the opportunity to support your local food systems. Here are a few easy ways to start supporting your local farmers.
- Find any pick-your-own farms in your area and make a point of visiting them this year. Trust me you won’t be disappointed by the fresh fruits and locally-grown produce!
- Visit your local farmers’ market. Talk to the people there, and get to know who your farmers are and what types of food they offer.
- See if your community has a local CSA program. You can also find some of your local farmers through the u.s. Department of Agriculture
- Talk to your local community members, chances are they know(or are!) a lot of the local food producers, and where you can source local products
- Look into the laws in your area and consider buying a herd share. You can read more about herd shares HERE
- you can also check my post on How to Begin Sourcing Food Locally. For 3 quick and easy ways to begin sourcing food locally!