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Three Ways to Use Your Stimulus Check to Support Your Locavore Habit

basket.jpg1. Buy a dedicated market basket – and stock it up. Mine, pictured here, is fully collapsible and the canvas comes off to be machine-washed. (I bought it for $14 at the Marshall’s at the new Mueller strip mall at 35N and 51st. While that’s not a local business, it’s very close to home so I spend very little fossil fuel to shop there.) During the week, I use it to store egg cartons, which I’ll return to an egg producer on market day, the cleaned bell jar I’ll return to the yogurt lady for a refill, and a few lightweight plastic containers that will allow me to decline plastic bags for things like tomatoes and strawberries — they’ll be better protected from bruising this way, and they won’t roll around willy-nilly in the basket. I also keep my new bamboo bread bag in there so I can decline a disposable one. Finally, this basket has a zippered pouch in the side. Therein lie my market card (which the Sustainable Food Center people stamp every week, then enter in periodic drawings) and a wad of cash. I rarely have cash in my wallet, so this way I’m assured of being able to pay for plenty of goods come market day.

2. Join a CSA or other local-produce purveyor. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, but in its abbreviated form typically identifies a particular farm that runs a community-supported program. For instance, the folks at Hands of the Earth Farm run a CSA called Oasis Gardens. For a fee of around $250 for a season, members share in the productivity of the farm with a weekly basket of goods. You can Google around to find other local CSA’s, or do a search at Local Harvest. Another great option for investing in local farms is to join Greenling, a grocery-delivery company that specializes in organic and local products. They offer a wide variety of local products, as well as several different “baskets” — bins of whatever’s fresh and in-season, delivered to your door for prices starting at $15.00. (Stay tuned for more details and about Greenling later this week.)

3. Plant a Garden. Money isn’t the only thing you’ll have to invest to make a vegetable garden grow, but it doesn’t get more local than your own backyard! If you want to make it really easy, spend some money to hire one professional to come till a sunny spot and another to install an efficient trickle irrigation system. You can do this all yourself, too, then reap the benefits when plants you spent a little on (even less if you start them from seed) yield a whole lot of fresh, high-quality food. If you have a garden but want to go farther, start a compost system. Plans for wooden bins abound online, and plastic drums can work well, too. A place for a pile is all you really need, though — as long as you don’t have dogs will consider it their very own salad bar. A little chicken wire can go a long way to deter them.

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  1. [...] Beth wrote an interesting post today on Three Ways to Use Your Stimulus Check to Support Your Locavore HabitHere’s a quick excerpt1. Buy a dedicated market basket – and stock it up. Mine, pictured here, is fully collapsible and the canvas comes off to be machine-washed. (I bought it for $14 at the Marshall’s at the new Mueller strip mall at 35N and 51st. … [...]

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