Welcome to the virtual guide to Mendocino County’s locally grown, crafted, traded and sold food. Here you can visit the farms, meet the farmers or discover links to local food efforts like Community gardens, Food banks, and Farmers Markets; learn or post about upcoming events on the calendar; or refer to helpful gardening guides so you can grow your own. List items for sale or trade on the Classifieds; or give away tools, fruits and vegetables, offer/ seek farm employment or land opportunities.
We dedicate this site to all of the farmers of land and sea and the abundance of Mendocino County’s Local Food!
Why Buy and Eat Locally?
It makes a difference when you buy and eat locally produced food.
1. Promote a Local Economy
Spent locally, our dollars recirculate in our communities. Buying directly from local farmers generates 44% more money for the local economy than purchasing food at supermarkets.
2. Help Farmers
On average, farmers receive only 20 cents of each dollar we spend on food. The rest goes to packaging, processing, transportation, and, most of all, advertising. By buying local, we assure that local and regional family farmers can get full retail price for their food – which means farm families can afford to stay on the farm
3. It Tastes Better & It’s Better For You
Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. In a week’s delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality. Processed foods, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and filled with hydrogenated oils, are linked to many health problems, including obesity and diabetes. Food grown in our community was probably picked within the last day or two. It is crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor and nutrition.
4. Know Who Does the Growing
By buying locally, we can develop a relationship with the people growing our food. When we value our food and the people who produce it, our quality of life as a community grows.
5. From Farm to Fork
Today the average food item travels roughly 1400 miles from farm to fork. Energy intensive industrial agriculture, wasteful packaging, and long-distance food transportation are responsible for roughly 20% of all climate-disrupting greenhouse gases. Buying locally reduces transportation costs and our dependence on foreign oil.
6. Food Safety
Concern about food safety, from Mad Cow Disease to dangerous pesticide residues, is another reason many are turning to organic and local food, which provides a safe alternative to industrially produced food.
7. Food Security
If the county were to become isolated, food grown in the area would be available for use. At present, in case of a disaster or other emergency when outside connections are lost, we would have a limited amount of food. We increase our security with a strong local food system.
8. Preserve Farm land and the Environment
As the value of locally produced meats, fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. In addition, the patchwork of fields, hedgerows, ponds, and buildings is the perfect environment for many species of wildlife. When you buy locally grown food, you are helping to preserve our agricultural landscape and rural community.
9. The True Cost of Food
The price we pay at the supermarket checkout counter doesn’t reflect the true costs of industrial agriculture: pollution and public health damage resulting from massive toxic pesticide and fertilizer use, sweatshop conditions for farm workers, water pollution from agriculture runoff, and billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies that mainly go to a handful of large corporations. When we buy from our local farmers and stores, we can feel good about what our dollars are supporting.
10. Why Buy at Locally Owned Stores ?
Local farmers, dairies and businesses are more accountable and invested in our community than industrial farms and big box chain stores. Supporting our local stores keeps our money and resources in our community. Local store owners employ our neighbors and provide an invaluable service to us. If we don’t shop locally, the local stores will disappear. It’s our choice!