Earlier this year, there we some shortages of essential items in many local stores which caused panic buying by consumers.  While a true food shortage is rare in America, there are times when there are hiccups in our supply chains.  Many retailers use the just-in-time delivery model to keep a continual supply of fresh foods arriving at their locations.  Due to the sheer size of America, severe weather issues, strikes, pandemics, natural disasters, you name it; there can be breakdowns along that supply chain that can lead to a few empty shelves in the store.  The products are out there, they just haven’t arrived yet!

Looking to the future, consumers might benefit from knowing where they can access foods and other products grown and produced right in their local area.  While there are seasonal and regional limits on what might be available in your own neighborhood, most people are pleasantly surprised by what products they can secure locally.  Right here in the quad city area there are several farmers markets and pop up vendors as well as small retailers, like The Honeyman Stores, which stock locally produced products. One can also make purchases directly from the producers.  You will find fresh vegetables, baked goods, eggs, honey, milk, beef, poultry, pickled products, kombucha, soaps & lotions…the list is endless!  You will also find specialty items like quail or quail eggs or Criollo beef or goat milk soap that you cannot get in the big box stores.

Making your purchases locally also keeps more of your money in the local economy. Local products have a much shorter trip from creation to the end user, therefore reducing the transportation carbon footprint. Local produce is usually fresher, local baked goods are usually made with fewer ingredients and local beef is usually cleaner, free of added hormones.

So how do you FIND these local food sources? There are several ways; look for listings and ads in local papers and coupon books, check out www.GoodFoodFinderAZ.com , www.EatWild.com , the USDA has a directory for CSA programs (community supported agriculture) where you purchase a share of the crops raised for the season.  The USDA also has directories for On Farm Markets and Farmer’s Markets,  just go to www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/food-directories.  So stock up your pantry and freezer now, with locally produced products!

Submitted by Ann Allen of BHDR