Love exploring local foods and ready to become a full-on locavore? Or, simply want to experience the flavorful, healthful and economic benefits of eating local? This summer, co-op grocers nationwide are joining to help people do both with Eat Local, America!
Presented by the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), the program invites people to visit their participating food co-op to find great local food options and event information and join the Eat Local, America! online community at www.eatlocalamerica.coop.
The website offers tips, tools, recipes and guest blogs on the healthful, social and economic benefits of eating local – as well as a map of participating co-ops.
Eat Local, America! is a great way to engage with food growers and producers in the region and learn about the bounty of foods produced locally. Eat Local, America! participants are asked to set a goal for themselves. Whether eating one meal a week made with local foods or trying to eat 80 percent of meals locally, participants should set a goal that fits their lifestyle.
“Consumers are more engaged than ever in knowing how and where their food is produced. Food co-ops have long been a leader in connecting consumers with fresh, local food,” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA. “Food co-ops continue to grow, farmers' markets and subscriptions to Community Supported Agriculture are rapidly growing, too. People across the country have made it clear: they want more locally grown and produced foods.”
“Co-ops have strong relationships with local food producers. And they excel at providing shoppers with high quality food and information about growers, makers and farmers. During Eat Local, America!, co-ops shine an even brighter light on the pleasures and benefits of local food in their community,” added Shrader.
More than 40 natural food co-ops coast-to-coast are hosting Eat Local, America! All are members of National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative representing 114 retail food co-ops nationwide.
Since peak harvest times vary throughout the nation, initiative dates and durations (typically one-week to one-month) vary as well. Most participating co ops will conduct their Eat Local, America! campaign based on their region as follows:
June – July: South, Southwest and California
July – August: Plains, Midwest and Northwest
August– September: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley and Upper Midwest
Food lovers can learn more about Eat Local, America! and how to participate at www.eatlocalamerica.coop.