Sunday, January 3, 2010

Local Harvest: A Great Resource for Buying Locally Grown Food

If you’ve ever been to a farmers market then you know there really is a difference in buying local fruit and vegetables. One of the biggest challenges though is finding these markets. Most small producers lack
the massive advertising budgets of large grocery story chains and as a result are not as visible.

Guillermo Payet has made things alot easier for consumers and at the same time has created a way for small producers to gain big visibility. Guillermo, is a software engineer and activist dedicated to generating positive social change through the Internet. In 1998 he founded “Local Harvest” which is now the number one informational resource for the Buy Local movement and the top place on the Internet where people find information on direct marketing family farms. From it’s humble beginnings Local Harvest has grown in membership to nearly 9000 members. The website and those of its partners serve about one and a half million page views per month to the public interested in buying food from family farms.

 LocalHarvest maintains a definitive and reliable “living” public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. A search engine help people find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages them to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. In addition there is an online store that helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their own local area. The richness, variety, and flavor of our communities, food systems, and diets is in jeopardy. The quest for economic efficiency has brought us low prices and convenience through large supermarkets chains, agribusiness and factory farms, while taking away many other aspects of our food lives, like our personal relation with our food and with the people who produce it. More and more people are
realizing this and actively working to turn the tide and to preserve a food industry based on family-owned,
small scale businesses. They are our best guarantee against a world of Styrofoam-like long-shelf-life tomatoes
and diets dictated from corporate boardrooms.

You can participate in our building process by encouraging your farmer, market manager, and restaurateur
friends to visit and sign themselves up! If you are a Sustainable Agriculture or Family Farming group, contact Local Harvest to discuss how they can partner together in support of your work. Small growers face many of the same challenges that farms faced decades ago but if local communities will lend their support farmers can continue to sustain and grow America.

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