Trying to become a locavore may seem daunting, but here are five easy steps that you can take now towards becoming one:
1. This is probably the easiest and the most obvious, but shop your local farmers markets! Not only are you buying local, but you can also talk directly to the farmers, producers, and artisans of what you are purchasing right there and then. You can ask them about their growing methods, how they make their delicious jams, and where they raise their honeybees. And often times, vendors are more than happy to let you have a taste of what they have on hand, so you can try it before you buy it. ;)
2. Start small. After visiting the farmers market, go through your fridge and pantry and choose two to five items you can start buying local immediately. Local eggs and honey are a great place to start. My family and I try to buy at least one local meat every week at the farmers market. One week we bought flank steak. Last week we bought ground beef. This coming week we are going to try chicken. Replace your dried herbs with herb plants.
3. Start a garden of your own. You really can't get more local than your own backyard, and you do not have to have a lot of land to start one. Many vegetables do well in containers on patios. If you have a smaller backyard like we do, try a small raised garden bed. We planted a 3x3 foot bed this summer and are growing heirloom tomatoes, poblanos, and jalapenos. Take it one step further and buy your vegetable plants at the farmers market or a local greenhouse instead of the big chain stores.
4. And continuing on that thought, forgo the big chain stores and restaurants for smaller, locally owned businesses. Choose to spend your money at one of these businesses at least two to three times a month. Buying local means that your money is going right back into the local economy and the community.
5. Visit a local farm. I find that you are more apt to buy local (even if it means spending a little more) if you have seen where the food is actually coming from. Most farmers and vendors welcome visitors and give tours. I would actually be a little leery of a farmer who wouldn't want their patrons to come check out their facilities. And bring the kids! Children loves animals and getting dirty. And bonus? You will be lighting the spark in a future generation of locavores! :)