How to Eat Local

 

Become a “Locavore”

Changing your diet is never easy but eating locally can be a rewarding and healthy experience. Try adding one seasonal local ingredient to your diet each week, or even better cook one meal per week using only local food. We’ve even seen people commit to an entire month or year of local eating. Become a locavore at your own pace! Just Food supports a growing community of people interested in eating locally through our monthly local food potlucks. If you would like to attend, please call!

Shop at Farmers’ Markets

Ottawa’s Farmers’ Markets are growing. You will find wonderful varieties of local fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, eggs, honey, maple syrup and more at farmers’ markets throughout the season. Make it a weekly ritual to start your groceries at farmers’ markets. You will get the freshest, tastiest foods available!

Eat Seasonally: “Cook Forward”

Get to know when local food is available through this guide’s seasonal calendar and by frequently visiting farmers’ markets. Cook forward by planning your meals around what is seasonally available, rather than deciding on a recipe first and then going out to buy ingredients wherever you can find them. The first fresh cucumber of the season, from a field close to home, never tasted so good. Celebrate the special local flavours available at different times of the year.

Celebrate Local Agriculture

Support farmers and better understand the agricultural landscapes through the unique taste of the food that is grown here. Celebrate with local farmers at local food feasts, garlic festivals, strawberry socials, trips to the sugar bush, country farm fairs etc. With this guide you can also find your way to a Pick Your Own Farm or a Farm Gate stand.

Join a CSA or Farmer-Run Food-Box Program

Be a member of a farm connected to your community. Sign on for a season of vegetables and get creative while cooking the seasonal surprises each week. Through your commitment to a farm for a full growing season, you help ensure that small farms are viable and our farmers keep farming.

Buy In Bulk: Learn to preserve Local Foods

Buy larger quantities of local food in season (whether meat, veggies or something else). It is more expensive to buy food in small quantities offseason – by buying in season you can stretch your dollar. By freezing, canning and dehydrating seasonal food you buy in bulk, you can include local foods in your diet the entire year. To learn preserving techniques, attend a Just Food preservation workshop (see our website for details).

Grow Your Own

Learn how to grow your own food in backyards, community gardens, or even on your balcony. Polish your gardening skills by taking a Just Food & Canadian Organic Growers (Ottawa) vegetable gardening workshop in the spring. You can also download a free beginner gardening guide from our website. Think about starting a community garden in your neighbourhood. The Community Garden Network in Ottawa is hosted by Just Food – we offer a range of supports to help establish gardens across the city.

Encourage Your Favourite Food Outlets

As consumers get more interested in local foods, grocers, restaurants and institutions feel more incentive to provide what consumers want. Ask your local grocery store, workplace/school cafeteria and your favourite restaurants how they plan to integrate local foods onto their shelves and into their menus.

Educate Yourself

Become a member and/or a volunteer of Just Food by logging onto our website and signing up under the Get Involved section. We will keep you up to date with food events and issues in the Ottawa region. Invite Just Food to give a presentation at your community association, place of worship or workplace on local foods and the food system.