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While I feel America is on the precipice of a major food shortage, there is much benefit to knowing your local food suppliers, no matter the status of the world. Today I will share my best tips and suggestions for finding food locally. Our culture of abundance has led to an ignorance of where our food comes from and how to find it when the grocery store shelves run bare. That is why this is a discussion we must have.
We are living at an interesting juncture in history. As I write this post (beginning of June 2022), we are likely on the precipice of a major food shortage. We have all been seeing food prices go up and up and up over the last year. I have consistently noticed a steady increase in my grocery bill with each passing shopping trip. A little here, a little there.
What really smacked me right upside the head though is when I went to Costco a few weeks back and paid $10.69 for 6 avocados. Previously, I could purchase the same 6 avocados for $5.50ish. A week later, the price had already increased by $0.20 per bag. We eat a lot of avocados in this family so I’ll have to see how long I can keep working it into the grocery budget at these insane prices.
Preparing for Lean Times
Many people have no idea what is coming and how to prepare for it. We are not taught how to prepare for lean times anymore. The convenience of grocery stores on every corner has created generations of people having no idea where their food comes from and how to find food if their grocery store shelves are bare.
I have been saying for months that people should be getting ready to be uncomfortable in ways they have never experienced. Perhaps things will turn around without any major issues. But, perhaps not, so that is why we need to have this conversation. In an effort to keep the Google gods happy, I’m going to avoid discussing any political issues surrounding this. I am only going to be speaking about what I am seeing here in the U.S.
I am not an expert on what is happening on the world stage in regards to this. But I am an expert at sourcing healthy foods locally. I’ve been supporting sustainable, local agriculture for close to 15 years now. I have been involved in local farmers markets as a market manager and organizer. I have been educating people on the benefits of supporting local agriculture and buying locally whenever possible since before I started blogging.
Do I buy everything locally? No, as demonstrated by the avocados from Costco, but then again, no one that I know (even the super self-sustainable friends I have) shops 100% local. That doesn’t mean that we can’t all do better and focus more on local foods and less on imported foods.
Impending Food Shortages
The impending food shortages are going to impact everyone. It’s not just those eating a Standard American Diet filled with processed and refined foods that are going to face food scarcity. It’s also going to affect those who focus primarily on whole foods like meats, dairy, produce, etc. I really doubt that there will be a single person who will be completely unaffected. Some are going to be hit harder than others and that is just going to depend on where you live, what you eat, and how much you have prepared for lean times.
P.S. If you are brand new to real food or need some help getting things sorted out, then make sure you don’t miss my resources and special offer at the bottom of this post!
Why do I think there is a food shortage coming (and I’m not alone here — even the White House is saying it)? Because:
- War overseas has impacted the production of fertilizer in a big way. Mass food manufacturing requires fertilizer. In addition, war impacts agriculture and manufacturing so things that are grown or manufactured in a war zone will be impacted.
- Fuel prices are continuing to rise, making it more expensive to transport food to different parts of the country.
- Severe drought has been affecting many parts of the world. Without water, we don’t have food.
- Food processing facilities and warehouses have mysteriously burnt to the ground this year. As of this writing, the last reported number I saw was 22 facilities in 2022. Perhaps this is on trend with past years, but it seems as though something different is happening this year. Some say this food chain destruction is due to nefarious acts, others say it’s merely coincidence. That’s for you to decide.
We have no idea how this is going to affect the food supply chain in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, a year, etc. It could be minor or it could be major. Regardless of where you stand on any of this, the simple fact is that there is no better (or more important) time to get to know your local food producers and prepare for the unknown.
In a perfect world, we could all grow and raise our own food, or partner with neighbors to have enough food to support our individual communities. Pretty much everyone can have some form of a garden (see this post and this post), regardless of whether you have some land to garden or you’re in apartments and need to use pots or towers. But it’s unlikely that the average person is going to be able to grow and raise all of the food that they need to sustain themselves and their families year-round. That’s why I know in your local farmers and ranchers is going to be key.
Why Buying Local is Good For Yor Health and Environment
I have written about sourcing local foods before (I’ll link those articles below), but let’s do a quick recap on why this is even important in the first place. Here are a few important reasons:
- It’s better for the environment because you are not having to fly and truck in food from around the world, which means less fossil fuel use and less pollution.
- It keeps your money in your local community, helping real people make a real living, rather than giving it to big corporations who, at times, don’t have real people in mind.
- You get better nutrition, especially when it comes to fresh produce. Most people don’t realize that produce starts losing its nutritional value as soon as it’s picked. When you buy local you’re getting your food faster than if it had been trucked or flown in fro
- m different states or countries.
- You get better quality food because you can often get organic, sustainable products without the added expense. Many small farmers and ranchers don’t have the financial capabilities to pay for formal organic certification (which is very expensive) even if they practice these methods.
- It’s often cheaper than buying at grocery stores, especially now that prices on everything are going up so much.
If you’d like to read more about sourcing local food or healthy food in general, check out the following posts:
- YOU, the Taxpayer, are Funding the Agri-Business Takeover of our Food Supply
- 5 Tips for Sourcing Affordable Grass-Fed Meats
- 3 Tips For Eating Real Food On A Budget
- Does Organic REALLY Matter? Yes and No and Let Me Tell You Why.
- 5 Reasons Why I Shop at Farmer’s Markets
How to Source Food Locally
I am thankful to live in Colorado where we truly do have an abundance of places to source local foods like eggs, meat, dairy, and produce. I know some other regions of the U.S. are not so fortunate, so if you live in an area like this (or a food desert), I will include some resources below for you too. For now, here are some of my favorite ways to find local food in your area.
- Ask around. Ask family, friends, colleagues, etc. if they have ever purchased food from local farmers and ranchers. Word of mouth advertising is the best!
- Google (or the search engine of your choice) “farmers market + your city” to find any local markets that may be going on. Depending on where you live, you may have access to year-round markets, or they may be mainly seasonal like they are here in CO.
- Google “grass-fed beef shares + your city or state” to find local ranchers who sell to the public. My guess is that you may be surprised by how many there are. You could do this for any other meat too and also search for dairy and eggs this way.
- Google “CSA + your city” to find farms that offer “Community Supported Agriculture” options. This means you pay a fee upfront to be part of their farm for that season and then you get weekly deliveries of fresh produce in return.
- Search Facebook for Pages and Groups. There are many local farm and ranch groups on Facebook and it’s one of the absolutely best places to build relationships and connections with your local food producers. We have a great Shop Colorado Farms group that is one of my favorite resources.
- Check with your local Weston A. Price Foundations chapter. If anyone is going to have a pulse on who is providing healthy, sustainable products, it’s them.
- Check the Eat Wild and Local Harvest websites. These are fantastic resources for those looking to buy locally grown food.
What would you add to this list? Leave a comment below and I’ll update the list with your suggestions.
What If You Live in a Food Desert?
I have been blogging since 2009 and over the years, I have received countless emails and comments from people who have told me that they have a hard time finding quality food locally. There aren’t any ranches in their area or they don’t have access to farms that practice organic/sustainable methods. This was harder to navigate 10 years ago, but now we are truly blessed with an abundance of options to order healthy food online. Both grass-fed/pastured meats and organic produce can be delivered right to your door.
These types of options are excellent for those who live in areas that don’t have good resources for healthy food. They can also be helpful for those who are just super busy and don’t have time to do the research and find the local food providers in their areas. There are so many options to choose from, but I am going to share the two that I personally use and love. I have been using both of these services for well over a year at the time of this writing and have really enjoyed the products and the service.
I started using Wild Pastures because I fell in love with their mission and the quality of their meats. 100% of their meat is raised on pasture by family farmers in the USA using regenerative farming practices. They try to source locally whenever possible as well. Their prices are great, especially compared to grocery store prices for this quality of meat. Their mission is to help transform the meat industry by making the highest quality, truly pasture-raised meat available to everyone at the lowest prices.
I usually get the beef and chicken combo box (since I don’t eat pork). I love their chicken wings and thighs and their beef bacon is something truly special. It is SO good! Since I have gone pretty much animal-based in my own diet (meaning mostly meat with a select handful of plant foods), I am eating a lot more meat now and their service, coupled with the meat I get locally really helps me save some money.
If you’d like to check them out, shop through my partner link here and receive $20 off on your first box.
I often share about Misfits Market on social media. I love their mission to rescue produce and other food products that might otherwise go in the trash. Plus their prices are excellent because they are rescuing this food and passing the savings along to us. Don’t let that scare you though. The quality of the food has been excellent and I rarely have produce that shows up that is damaged or inedible. Even on the occasions that has happened, they have been quick to refund my account.
If you’d like to try them out, you can visit their site via my partner link and you will qualify to receive $10 off your first order with them. And if you like the service, you can also sign up for their referral program and share it with your friends and family too!
As I mentioned above, there are lots of services now that provide meat and produce directly to your door. A Google search will yield a lot of results. The reason I’m not sharing more options in this post is because I have a commitment to only share the brands that I personally use on a regular basis AND love. Since I’ve been so happy with Wild Pastures and Misfits Market, I have not needed to try any of the other services.
Soon I will be sharing a post with tips on making buying local food more affordable. It was just too much to add to this post so I feel it’s better to make it its own separate article. Stay tuned for that coming in the next week or two. Until then, please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions! Leave a comment below, or shoot me an email here. Thanks for reading and take good care! 🙂 <3
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