To wrap up this series on Think Local, Act Local, let’s take a look at sustainable agriculture.
Sustainable agriculture protects water and soil quality, while preserving green space for healthy native habitats. Eating locally produced, sustainable food has personal benefits– as a consumer, you’re getting food that is fresher and better-tasting – as well as environmental and economic benefits.
Much of our food travels approximately 1,500 miles to get to our kitchens. By reducing the distance our food has to be shipped, we save energy and reduce carbon emissions related to shipping while eliminating the need for a lot of packaging that may end up in a landfill. In terms of economics, keeping our local farmers and producers in business supports the local economy; money spent close to home typically stays in the area. Of every $100 spent with a local business, $45 makes it back into the community compared to $14 back into the community from every $100 spent at a big-box store.
In the Fox Valley, there is no shortage of access to fresh farm products. Throughout the region, there are multiple farmers markets where you can support local farmers, including:
- Appleton Farmers Market
- Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market
- Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market
- Green Bay Farmers’ Market on Broadway
- Green Bay Farmers’ Market
- Menasha Farm Fresh Market
- Neenah Farmers Market
For other markets, take a look at the Farm Fresh Atlas of Eastern Wisconsin lists sustainable farms, farmers’ markets, local businesses and organizations that promote local food.
If you’re looking for other ways to participate in sustainable, community-supported agriculture, there are several groups to look into:
- New American Foodshed is a group of local producers, agency and university staff, community activists and other volunteers who are working to promote local food and sustainable agriculture within the northeast region of the state.
- Sheboygan Area Local Food Alliance aims to address and share information regarding the Sheboygan Area Community’s access to food, food security, education about local food, and the local food system.
- Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast advocates the support of family farms and cooperatives, promotion of locally grown food, support for school gardens, conservation of regional culinary traditions and the maintenance of biodiversity.
- Wisconsin colleges and universities offers classes and programs in sustainable agriculture, from practical skills taught at the technical colleges to a graduate degree at UW Madison.