Definition of Local
There has been some controversy over what constitutes “local” when it comes to businesses, food products and artisan goods. When we talk about local, we need to take into consideration not just geographical proximity, but also size, level of independence and our personal relationship with the grower, artisan, or entrepreneur.
The local food movement is a “collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies – one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place” and is considered to be a part of the broader sustainability movement.
Generally, the closer in proximity the better. Due consideration should be give to environmental concerns; ie a veggie patch next to a major roadway might absorb more toxins than something a little further out in the country. In Central Florida, we’ve lost a lot of acreage to development and we do not (yet) have a well connected local food network like those found in cities on the West Coast or Northeast of the US. Take heart, though, as there is a lot of foundation level work being done through members of Ourlando’s Local Food Alliance, The Simple Living Institute, Slow Food Orlando and Homegrown Co-op.
Know Your Farmer. We are committed to not just local, but organic as well, yet our small scale growers can’t afford the USDA price tag. This is where we rely on having a personal relationship with our growers, so we can purchase produce we know was grown in an organic fashion because we trust the grower. We are building relationships with growers, but as yet can only rely on a few bumper crops here and there.
Effects of Supporting Locally Grown
- Typically better quality, taste, freshness, ripeness due to a number of factors including eating in season.
- Less need for chemical preservation.
- Preserves and renews indigenous knowledge, traditions, species and land.
- Encourages more sustainable growing practices that promote diversity and enhanced soil instead of large-scale, single crop monocultures.
- Strengthens local economies by protecting small farms, jobs & commerce.
- Increases our food security and ability to be self-reliant in a food crisis.
- Can be better for the environment, depending on several factors.
Our Local Practice
We strive to source services locally as well, by using mom & pop providers for our printing, handy, and accounting needs instead of going to the big guys up the street. Naturally, we find these great place using the Ourlando Independent Business Directory.
For our produce purposes, we define the state of Florida as local, and will adjust this as more progress of making connections occurs in our region.
- Audubon Park Community Market – Locally focused organic growers
- Central Florida Green Guide
- Homegrown Co-op – Locally focused organic cooperative
- Simple Living Institute
- Slow Food Orlando
- LocalHarvest – Farm Finder
- Hyperlocalvore – Yard Sharing for Growing Your Own!
Research & Articles
- Why Eat Local
- 10 Reasons to Eat Local
- Yes Magazines Food for Everyone Resource Guide
- 8 ways to Join the Local Food Movement
- Fresh from… the City
- Where Does Your Food Come From? Food Routes
- How to start a Community Garden
- The Dinner Garden: FREE seeds supplies & advice for Home & Community Gardeners!
Please feel free to add you recommendations for local sources below!