Locally Grown: The Materials

“Put your state on your plate.” That’s the brilliant slogan that hog farmer Emile DeFelice coined in 2006 when he ran for South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner. In other words—support local farmers and producers. Whether certified organic, locally grown, bio-dynamic or conventionally grown, buying products produced close to home is important. Not only will you reduce the “carbon footprint” of the product but also support your community and encourage local pride. You may even meet the folks who worked to manufacture the product, and you can see exactly where and to whom your money goes. Put your dollars back into the place you live.

(1) Local produce is easier to find than ever. Besides the neighborhood farmers’ markets, you can always check the labels and signage at the big markets to find the origin of fruits and vegetables. Urge supermarket produce managers to highlight the locally grown items through eye-catching signage. Let them know that you want to know who is growing your food. Sources: Reusable tote bag and dishes, Waldenour, waldenour.com. For a list of vendors, farmers and markets in Georgia, check out Georgia Organics’ Local Food Guide at georgiaorganics.org

(2) Specialty products like soaps, honey, exquisite cheeses, candles and fine packaged food are also produced locally. Give them as gifts to friends near and far to spread the word about the finer things Georgia artisans have to offer. Sources: Soap, Hazelbrand Farms, hazelbrand.com. Honeycomb, savannahbee.com.

(3) Georgia is known for peanuts and pecans. Don’t assume that all the nuts you see in the store are from Georgia. Check the label and buy local.

(4) Many local farmers have been supplying socially conscious restaurants with all-natural, pastured beef and pork and farm eggs for ages, but now they are also selling at local neighborhood farmers’ markets. These products taste completely different than conventionally raised meats. Conduct your own taste test, and you’ll realize that not only do the meats taste better, they are much better for you.