"Know(ing) Your Farmer"

What does local mean for you? If you’ve never personally defined this food niche, now is the time, and it is easier than ever. I recently ended up at a nearby farmer's market with my friend and colleague Katie for a cooking demonstration to talk about an emerging area in food and nutrition that I absolutely love. The USDA is launching a new initiative called “Know Your Farmer” . It’s the start of a national conversation about understanding where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate. It promotes healthy eating, protects natural resources, and strengthens local and regional farming systems.

The government is recognizing that healthy, vibrant communities stem from the growth of small farms who have local support from their residents. There is an exchange of resources to yield fresh food and a strong connection between the city and the countryside.

St. Louis houses some pretty solid farmer’s markets: to name a few, we’ve got beer lovers in Maplewood and downtown followers in North City, plus the yogis in Tower Grove and the crowds in Soulard. Outside of the city, farmers are becoming known Saturday mornings in the city of Belleville, a home to many local producers like Brian pictured here. If you do just a little bit of searching, a farmer’s market is likely closer than you think.

If you're up for an opportunity to support a sustainable practice, not only will these farmers hand over fine produce, but your business to them will support generations to come. If each community household allocated ten simple dollars of their weekly food budget for their farmer’s market, positive impact is inevitable. Plus the benefit of better food choices in our fridges and mouths. Jump on the train.

(Katie picking out her patty pan squash at the Belleville Farmer's Market)

Kind of ironic how we are trained to routinely invest our income in those who cut our hair, repair our cars, and manage our investments. If we're not intentional, we look over one of the most influential dictators of our health: our food supply, which starts with local farmers.

Now, more than ever, people are interested in food and agriculture despite the fact that many local farmer’s have been forced to leave their occupation due to competition mega-producers. Something feels very right to me about supporting this irony.

Wherever you call home, you are certainly in the right place to participate in the new-found appreciation of living efficiently.

For more ideas near you, check out Local Harvest.

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