Act with your mouth and your wallet. Every dollar you spend at a Tailgate Market is directly benefiting local small farmers and producers and you. Every dollar you spend in a locally-owned business is keeping more money in our local economy, supporting family-owned businesses, and producing local jobs. Every dollar you spend on things like organic food or recycled products (like paper) is sending a tangible message to the larger market that you care about your family, small farms, local businesses, and the environment. As far as Tailgate Markets are concerned, the beauty is...you get to eat the delicious benefits and vote with your dollar. That’s a win-win situation!
Sometimes it’s hard. Everyone is working within a budget, and sometimes we cringe at the price of a food or a greener product we’d really like to get and think we can’t afford. I always try to push the window of my pocketbook comfort-zone. Consider thinking of this budget shortfall as an aspect of your charitable giving, and use your dollars to drive the kind of changes you’d like to see in your community and in the world ~ we all breathe the same air and drink from the same cup.
SOME SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO
- Plant a garden. That’s really eating local! Plant something, anything, edible. Even a pot of herbs on your porch is a step in the right direction.
- Get your children, or grandchildren, involved in gardening at an early age. Young children love to help in the garden. Encourage their involvement, and they will have a lifelong familiarity of how things grow and how to grow them, and associate the smell of soil with something wonderful. Consider volunteering with your children at school gardens or community gardens.
- Buy a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Share. Shares are available in the spring. Generally, you receive a box filled with a variety of in-season food every week during the growing season. The ASAP Local Food Guide has a list of farms that offer CSA’s, or go to asapconnections.org to see the list online.
- Supplement your garden at the Tailgate Market. Make your grocery list and visit the tailgate market before you go to the grocery store. Get as much as you possibly can from the Tailgate Market, including staples like onions and garlic, breads, meats, eggs, honey, jams, mushrooms, and soap.
- Take your children to the Tailgate Market. The markets can be very social and kid-friendly. Your children will see lots of beautiful, possibly mysterious food and have a chance to meet and get to know the farmers, bakers, beekeepers, and craftspeople. The farmers enjoy knowing who is eating the food they have raised, and some customers have been loyal “Tailgaters” for decades!
- Make home-cooked meals. Convey your enthusiasm for local food in your cooking. Cooking at home brings your family together to enjoy food that has been cooked with love. If time is tight, designate particulars days or certain mealtimes for home-cooked meals. Simply sitting around a table with friends and family is an ancient human pleasure.
- Cook with your children. Kids love to help in the kitchen. Sit your toddler (safely) on the counter while you are making biscuits or cutting up vegetables. Pass down the legacy of knowing how to make certain meals that become family traditions. Cook together, even if you yourself are still learning. It’s a lifelong skill that our bellies appreciate.
- Go on the 2013 Family Farm Tour. Meet WNC farmers in person, many of whom sell at the local Tailgate Markets. See farm animals and crops growing. Get out in the country, or check out an urban
farm. It’s great fun for the whole family. The 2013 Family Farm Tour is in late June. For details go to asapconnections.org.
- Go to a U-pick Farm. This is a fun family outing, and you get to bring yummy food home to eat. The ASAP Local Food Guide has a list of u-pick farms, or go to asapconnections.org.
- Make a personal commitment to support local farms, local producers, and local businesses. This supports our local economy, reduces fossil fuel use, promotes food security, and enriches our primal connection to the food we eat and to our neighbors. Each dollar spent in a local business will benefit our community many-fold, and benefit you with an enhanced sense of local living.
- Live with gusto, and enjoy the beautiful food we have to eat in our gorgeous corner of the state ~ Western North Carolina, or wherever you may live.