Local Foods Initiative

We challenge YOU to to grow, purchase, and eat locally this summer!

Throughout the summer and early fall, University of Illinois Extension offers programs about growing, cooking, and preservation throughout Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, and Montgomery Counties, which focus on locally grown foods. The goal of the challenge is to make the public more aware of local growers, increase confidence in growing, caring for, and preparing local foods, and for local citizens to support each other in making healthy lifestyle choices.

Going to a farmers market and purchasing food from a local grower is an opportunity to discover how local foods are grown, processed, and garner additional suggestions for preparation directly from the producer. Purchasing local food may also have a positive impact on health. Lisa Peterson, nutrition and wellness educator  explains, “By purchasing food locally, you can talk to the grower and know exactly what’s in the food you and your family are eating. Eating fresh food from a farmers market or local producers can also replace foods that require more preservatives that can be high in added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.” Purchasing locally reduces the distance and time food travels from farm to fork cutting down on the risk of contamination. 

What is local?
For the purpose of this challenge, local food is food produced in Christian, Jersey, Macoupin, and Montgomery County region; whether, directly from a local grower, purchased at a farmers market, or food produced in a home garden. Learn when certain produce is in season in Illinois (What's in Season?), and this can help you prepare to see what might be available at your local farmers market.

Why eat and buy local?
Food purchased locally has a positive effect on the community, health, and the environment. Most of the food sold in the grocery store travels 1,500 miles to reach the store; burning fossil fuel, which can have a harmful effect on the environment. Not only will eating local help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but keeps the food dollar in the community aiding the local economy. Visit a local farmers market this summer!

Follow us on Social Media 

Join the conversation by following @EatLocalCJMM. Exchange seasonal recipes, share your finds at local farmers markets, discuss challenges in growing and eating locally, learn about upcoming classes, and find additional information about growing and caring for a garden. The public is also invited to ask growing, cooking, and preservation questions.

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