Image via Local Dirt
Buying food locally is a fast way to shed pounds...of carbon, anyway. By cutting down food miles, you're cutting back on the embodied carbon in the food, as well as helping out local growers. But if you don't have a farmers' market nearby or can't make it on a weekly basis, how else might you find locally grown food? Local Dirt wants to fill that information gap and point you in the right direction. However, does it stand out against some of the competing websites and smart phone apps providing the same service?Download Squad was fairly unimpressed with the site, noting "Technologically, the site still has a way to go. For example, when I clicked the entry for Park Slope Community Markets, the page I received was very light on information. In fact, it had just an address -- it couldn't even tell me what days/times the market is open. The site seems to have a rudimentary system for ordering online, but it's not implemented for many of the markets. There is also no clear label showing which markets support online ordering and which don't, so it's really a hit-or-miss experience."
When I tried out the site, it gave me just 14 options - almost all of which are farmers' markets and four of which were outside the city limits. For anyone living here in San Francisco, that's a telling sign that the database the site uses of local food is anything but robust. There are many markets throughout the city that sell locally raised produce. One would think that the results would show farmers' markets, grocery markets, CSA programs and all other options for getting local food. This site...not so much. It's wonderful that they're trying, but the creators have some more work to do on Local Dirt before it becomes a must-visit resource.
Other sites and apps out there helping you shop locally include Find Fruit, which helps you uncover fruit for urban foraging, Locavore, which points out all the farmers' markets near you and which foods are in season, Organic Highways, which is a directory of restaurants serving organic local food, and of course your local CSA program, which you can find listed on Local Harvest.
In fact, that latter tip might be your best bet in getting organic local food - plus it's often delivered right to your door.
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More on Eating Local Food
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