Tuesday, February 4, 2014

20 Places to Find Local Food and Family Farms Near You

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

As demand for local and raw goods continue to rise, more people are asking - where do I find local organic? Where do I find raw milk and join a herd share? Where are the farmers markets, co-ops and stands?

Search engines are actually terrible at locating these underground hubs, which makes it so frustrating to try and opt out of corporate chains, save money, and build your family's health. If you've ever gotten a bunch of 'Yelp' listings for weight loss pills while searching, you know what I'm talking about. I've helped a few people find a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) but I found it by accident.

So where are they all hiding?

As it turns out, many of the farmers and markets you're looking for have teamed up with certain websites to be mapped. Use this easy list to find yours today. They won't all be on the same map, but you will be sure to find markets and family farms in your area that were previously invisible.

Why you should bookmark and try them all - not all the hubs will be organic, some are just local. Some don't provide raw milk but could lead you there. Some have other resources like healthy body care, organic delivery or restaurants serving your favorite farm finds worth looking into. Some of the websites don't share your political perspective or stance on health and were possibly supported by agencies and organizations you don't care for. But that's okay, take only what you need and leave the rest.


20 Quick Resources to Find Local Food, Farms, Markets, Stands, Co-ops and more!

EatLocalGrown  - Wouldn't it be great to know if your food has GMOs or not? Eat Local Grown agrees and locates sources near you. They also have informative beginner's articles, new food provider listings, and over 50,000 Likes on Facebook.

Farmerspal  - Click the map or your state to find organic, markets, grocers, online shopping and more. Make sure you like their Facebook page for other great resources.

FarmMatch  - Unique because whoever you are, you can put yourself on the map to be matched with producers in your area. Create your food profile today.

LocalDirt  - Helps you buy right from the farm. It's also a marketplace that allows you to sell and trade. Got eggs? Sell them to your neighbors here. It also allows groups and co-ops to set up bulk orders right there. This one is worth revisiting time and again to check out all its features.

Weston A Price Chapter Leaders - This is my favorite, because it puts you in touch with passionate people who give their time to connect you to your CSA and quite possibly raw milk and dairy. They will have the latest sources. Weston A. Price Foundation is a wealth of knowledge for traditional foods and health.

Real Milk Finder - Also from Weston A. Price, this locator could help you to your raw milk and dairy herd share source. Please keep in mind, raw milk availability really depends on your state laws. And not all of the herd share programs are listed there so be sure to read the next important list item.

Meetup - This seems like a weird place to get the connections but it makes sense. Meetup allows groups to safely connect online and publicly meet to enjoy hobbies, clubs, politics, education - anything. It's just people meeting up, doing what they love, learning or just having fun - I attribute so many happy, life-changing times to this website. This is how I found my CSA! I went to a nutrition wholefoods meetup to take free natural food classes. The woman running it was a Weston A. Price chapter leader who graciously led me through the entire process and got me connected to raw milk and pasture-fed foods. Wherever people who are passionate about their lifestyle meet, you are sure to pick up a wealth of resources and support. You should check it out to find like-minded people and get out there. I've made great friends this way. Some people find their soul mate!

Pick-A-Pepper - Real local food right at your fingertips. Use your zip to find your farmer or food artisan AND become a vendor.

Eat Wild - #1 website for all things grass fed. Their map includes Canada and connects you with grassfed wild foods, even companies who ship directly to you.

LocalHarvest  - Another mapping site that allows you to find CSAs, Co-ops, open farms, markets, delis, stores and more. Thankfully, it's been around for awhile. Unfortunately, that could mean some of the info is outdated. Always good to call ahead - don't be afraid to talk to farmers and ask questions.

Homegrown.org - Created by FarmAid (another educational farm source), offers lots of education and provided some of the links in this article. It also has its own map to find local fare. FarmAid also has a list of open Winter Markets worth checking. They also list two maps to find wild catch and pastured cattle and dairy farms. Local Catch and HomeGrownCow .

Organic Consumers Association  - Plug your zip code in and you'll be in touch with not just healthy GMO-free food sources but all kinds of natural health businesses - even skin care, acupuncture and more.

RealTimeFarms - Nicely designed, simple to use map shows farmers, artisans, restaurants, markets and more right in your town. Also search by ingredient or certified organic. Very eye-opening!

FarmPlate - Holy cow! Find everything in your area including apiaries, bakeries, stands, herbalists, confectioners and more. They've got it all.

Market Maker - Is another cool marketplace to buy and sell healthy homegrown.

EatWellGuide - Find local sustainable food. Is supported by lots of big partners so you know the locator will work great.

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food  - This comes from the USDA in an effort to be more "sustainable" and local. Maybe it's to deflect from the tens of billions of dollars going into Big Agri subsidies, the small farm crushing fines of the Food Safety Act, or the GMO deregulation that will run roughshod over local and organic fare. It makes me nervous that the federal government wants to get super cozy with local and have it compassed on a map. But, it does offer a stunning visual of a variety of farms and markets, not just USDA supported ones. You can also find markets near you here . Enjoy it - you paid for it.

Stronger Together Co-op - Find just food co-ops all over the US.

PickYourOwn.org  - Local listings of pick-your-own (U-pick, PYO) farms - globally .

Food Routes - Has an outreach called Buy Fresh, Buy Local with chapter leaders who will help you do just that.

WWOOF  - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a buddy to Permies.com (awesome permaculture resource) and a volunteer exchange. People volunteer to learn and work an organic farm and they can get room and board in exchange. Some would call it a free vacation. It's an opportunity to travel, see what it takes to cultivate, and...find a farm!

Farmshed CNY - This focuses on the New York area but it is so comprehensive, if it grows beyond it could be the most thorough finder known. Type your city and search up to a 50-mile radius.

So there you have it - over 20 places to locate local food and the farmer right in your area. Did I leave out an important resource? Do you have any questions? Please share your resources and questions below and please let us know if any of the links above helped you with your search.

Many of you have reached out to me since this was originally published last year, telling me this guide helped you find your food source - Thank you!

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.



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