As I have written about many times here on Care2.com, supporting our small and family farmers is vital to ensuring a thriving, sustainable agricultural system. There are many ways to do this, but the most direct way is to buy from a local farm or farmer.
And, as the holidays approach you can help support our local farmers while getting your holiday shopping done, giving your friends and family some great gifts.
It’s also a great way to avoid the big box stores and the stress of the holiday shopping season. Best of all, you are not only supporting local farmers and local food, but also the local economy. Here are some ideas to bring the farm home to your friends and family.
AFT also offers a variety of apparel and other merchandise, including mugs, T-shirts, hoodies, ornaments, bags, and hats, with all proceeds going to help our farmers.
Another great organization is Farm Aid best known for its concerts. Farm Aid works year-round on behalf of family farmers and good food and their mission remains the same: to keep family farmers on their land. A membership to Farm Aid is another great gift. They also sell concert apparel, music, videos, hats, posters, and bags.
If you live near a year-round farmers’ market, you can make your own gift basket. Although you can certainly make a delicious fruit basket, you might be surprised at the wide variety of items available at the farmers’ market. Some of the items you can get for your basket or gift pack are: specialty olives and spreads, vinegars and oils, honey and honey sticks in a wide assortment of flavors, prepackaged or bulk nuts, dried fruit, jams, jellies, and dried apples, cheeses, and even all-natural soaps in dozens of wonderful fragrances. You can even include farmers’ market merchandise such as a mug or apron to complete your gift.
If you live near a local farm or farm trails, many have gift shops that feature items other than produce, and run the gamut from health and beauty products to fresh baked pies. Better yet, some farms offer cooking and gardening classes and a gift certificate for one of these would be a great gift.
Local Harvest also has an online store. While not exactly buying local, if you are in an area where there is absolutely nothing local near you, this is a good option. The “Local Harvest Store brings the products of family farmers home to you. While our farmers focus on selling fresh produce and meats directly to their local communities, many of them offer some of their products via mail order through us.”