Local food has become a popular topic in the past few years, though many consumers may not know the benefits of buying local food. In addition to being fresher than most available foods, local food lets consumers invest in the preservation of their local economy and environment.
Food Systems & Sustainability
Sustainability as a goal means to use resources in a way that conserves and maintains that resource base, while also providing social, economic, and environmental benefits. Encouraging local food systems can help to incorporate sustainable practices into the food we eat.
UF/IFAS’s Partnership for Water, Agriculture, and Community Sustainability at Hastings defines a sustainable food system as a collaborative network of farmers, consumers, and communities that partner to create a more locally based, self-reliant food system. Farmers markets are one example of where this network comes together.
Local food systems enhance the social relationships between farmers and consumers; support small and family farmers; keep local agricultural economies viable; maintain genetic diversity of food crops; and preserve natural resources, rural land areas, and wildlife spaces.
Florida’s warm weather means you can find a wide variety of local foods grown year-round, as opposed to the limited growing seasons of more northern locations. Here are some resources to help you find information on Florida foods and where to buy them:
- Finding Florida Fresh Produce—UF/IFAS
- Florida Fresh Series—UF/IFAS
- Community Supported Agriculture in Florida—Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)
- Florida Community Farmers’ Markets—FDACS
- Florida Crops, Seasonal Availability—FDACS
- Florida “Farm to School” Program—FDACS
- Florida Seafood—FDACS
Next time you head to a “U-pick” farm, stop at a roadside stand, or swing by a farmers market, know that you’re not just picking up something good to eat, but also keeping your community healthy in all aspects of the word.
Related Sites & Articles
- Hot Topics
- Beginning Farmers and Ranchers
- Community Supported Agriculture
- Starting a Farmers Market
- UF/IFAS Sites
- Why Save Farmland?
- Local Food
- Other Sites & Publications
- Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food--USDA
- Local Food Resources--ATTRA
- Local and Regional Food Systems--ATTRA