Why you should look for Grown Local
Summer Intern with Grown Local Marin
Grown Local is a collaborative community initiative that seeks to unite local producers and consumers. Not only does Grown Local support local businesses and agricultural producers, it helps consumers navigate the increasingly confusing world of grocery shopping by clarifying which foods and products are locally grown and produced. Buying and eating local is not only good for your health, as it provides you with the knowledge that your food comes from a known and sustainable source, but it puts money back into your community and helps reduce environmental degradation of imported products.
Grown Local is committed to fostering a healthy, sustainable community, and the benefits go far beyond economics and environment. Our world is changing rapidly; market forces and the proliferation of new technologies often strain our delicate food system and threaten to replace local producers with corporate industrial ones. We as community members have a responsibility and a unique power to combat these detrimental forces and take back our food. Grown Local’s yellow signs at farmer’s markets guide you towards making a difference in keeping our local food system alive.
Grown Local is not pioneering a new idea; we are simply organizing and bringing together a commonly felt sentiment in Marin County. Producers and consumers alike feel compelled to support local foods, something that has been inherent to Marin County for decades. In their own words, the members of Grown Local explain why buying local is so important.
“There is a movement. In this little round yellow sign there are huge existential questions about who we are and how we want to live.” Janet of Allstar Organics, a Marin-based producer and Grown Local member, passionately believes in the locally-based initiative. For her, supporting local farms and keeping money circulating in the community is key, but the social aspect is just as important. As she puts it, “the community that can feed itself” is proliferated by a concerted effort to keep local farms not just operational, but integrated socially in the community. Feeding your neighbor not only provides food, but creates a more sustainable food system bound by social ties that are often stronger than economic ones.
When it comes to environmentalism, Janet is clear on her stance: “I think exporting food is full of problems, one being that we have a lot of hungry people in the U.S., so how is it morally defensible to send food out? When you export food, you export resources: carbon and water, really the whole future of the food system. When you take it out, you’re supposed to put that back. You’re using up non-renewable resources (fuel, water) to export renewable resources (food).”
There is a deep emotional vein running through Grown Local. This is our community. These people are our neighbors and friends. Supporting them means sustaining legacies and livelihoods, preserving tradition and fostering a happier, healthier community. As Kitty of Dolcini Red Hill Ranch puts it, “If people don’t support local farms, they’re going to go away.”
Behind each producer is a unique history tied to Marin County’s own history, something that a corporate industrial brand can never replicate. For instance, artisan cheese is big in Marin County’s dairy-rich history. Supporting these small-scale cheese makers means keeping Marin’s legacy of dairy alive, a relic of the first settlers in the area. While the financial and environmental benefits are clear, it is these social, emotional, and symbolic benefits that drive the movement and give it life and vibrancy. Grown Local is the future of our food.