Everyone is buzzing about “Buy Local”. There are many great reasons to buy local food and support local farmers. Local food is fresher, more nutritious and delicious. Rather than traveling 1,500 miles or more over four to seven days, local produce and meats are picked less than 24 hours ahead of the time you pick it up. Preventing that excessive transportation can reduce fossil fuel use and potentially reduce global warming. Supporting local farmers helps maintain open space and can save your town money by reducing their costs of services. (see links below on costs of town services and benefits of open space) Farms and open space can act as a carbon sink and further reduce global warming.
Many consumers want to buy local produce, eggs, seafood and meat but don’t know where to find local products. Here are three helpful on-line resources.
Buy Local RI
Buy Local RI is a program of the Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor’s office. The Buy Local RI website aims to connect RI’s local, independent businesses to consumers in the state. Buy Local RI helps promoting locally-owned independent businesses and offers unified public resource where businesses and individuals can find and connect to local products and services.
Consumers can go online and enter their town to find registered local farms, retailers and other vendors.
Rhode Island farmers and businesses can take advantage of the FREE and easy opportunity to market their businesses and products. Click here for more information. Just register for the site and then “Sign In”.
Participating businesses and organizations are required to be locally owned, independent businesses or organizations that
- Operate in Rhode Island
- Are employee, community, privately or co-operatively owned
- Are majority-owned by Rhode Island resident(s)
- Permit local control over key business decisions like supply contracts and advertising
To get involved or volunteer with Buy Local RI, email.
Farm Fresh RI
A helpful feature of the Farm Fresh RI website is a listing of what fruits and vegetables will be available fresh at various times of the year; click here to see the chart.
Anyone can find a list of all the Farmers Markets in Rhode Island by clicking here. Consumers can narrow the list by entering a town or zip code or by selecting the day of the week. By clicking on a particular farm, you can see all the markets they participate in. By selecting a particular market, you can see all the vendors who attend that market. The site includes a state map showing the markets based on your criteria. Farm stand listings are also available here.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2004 aiming to grow a local food system that values the environment, health and quality of life for RI farmers and eaters. Programs link local farmers and buyers by building RI’s capacity in three areas: producers, markets and eaters. Farm Fresh Rhode Island aims to
- Preserve Rhode Island farmland and our agricultural and culinary knowledge
- Build healthier communities
- Increase access to fresher, tastier food
- Improve impact of food production and distribution on our environment
- Strengthen community-based businesses
For more information on Farm Fresh RI, contact Noah Fulmer, Farm Fresh Rhode Island Executive Director via email, call (401) 312-4250 or direct snail mail to 1005 Main St #1220, Pawtucket, RI 02860.
The USDA offers this website allowing user to search by zip code, travel radius, payment methos accepted (including SNAP and WIC) and product offerings. Click here to go to the site.
The Rhode Island Center for Agricultural Promotion and Education (RICAPE) is an independent non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that provides resources and services to farmers, gardeners, agricultural professionals, educators, chefs and business and community leaders dedicated to sustaining agriculture and education the public about agriculture.
The Center’s mission is to help keep Rhode Island’s farm communities viable, strengthen pride of place and enhance quality of life. RICAPE strives to reinforce connections between people and agriculture through programs and activities that nurture children, engage and educate, enhance skills and promote agricultural jobs, careers and community service.
Programs for farmers and other agricultural professionals include
- Partnership Development
- Training and Professional Development
- Branded Destination Marketing Campaign and Website
- Technical Support
- Research, surveys and assessments
- Grant and Financial Assistance Identification
- Strategic Farm Site Planning
- Alternative Enterprise & Product Development
- Marketing Planning
- Liaison to business, financial, tourism and hospitality, education and service sectors
- Representation to town councils, zoning boards, local, regional and national organizations
RICAPE builds partnerships and programs that encourage lifelong learning and bring children in direct contact with farms, farmers and the agricultural community including:
- The Children’s Garden Network Campaign 2010 – A Garden at Every School – A campaign to assist communities to grow garden education programs at every school and youth organization in Rhode Island by the year 2010.
- Farm Quests are year-long learning adventures for children in grades 4 through 8 that foster community connections through interactions with local farms and farmers.
- In-service workshops for teachers and other education professionals, to assist in expanding education about agriculture in the classroom and in the community.
- Promotes shared learning for policy-makers and the public through education forums and conferences, expanded press coverage, broadcast media programming and a variety of community activities and events.
For more information or to make a 100% deductible donation to RICAPE, contact Stu Nunnery, RICAPE’s Director via email, call (401) 592-0209 or send snail mail to P.O. Box 40940, Providence, RI 02940.