Buy Local Goes National

A few years ago the local farmers in my area, western Massachusetts, started a great marketing campaign. “ Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown” urged consumers to buy local produce rather than food shipped from California or abroad. It was refreshing to see locally committed farmers taking their case to the public in an appealing way.

The idea seems to be catching on. A group called FoodRoutes Network is working with ten community-based nonprofits around the country to try to boost regional markets for locally grown food. Each is developing a “Buy Local” marketing campaign to bring community farmers and consumers together.

The new initiatives complement work by other “buy local” pioneers such as The White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia. Judy Wicks, the founder of The White Dog, has long made it a point to buy from local organic family farms. She also has created special events like the Farmers’ Sunday Supper and the Dance of the Ripe Tomatoes to educate its staff and customers, and founded the Philadelphia Fair Food Project to build links between sustainable farmers and Philadelphia-area restaurants and food purveyors.

Advocates of local produce make some points (taken here from FoodRoutes) that are worth remembering: