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3 Ways You Can Deepen Your Connection to Our Local Food System

For many people, the New Year is a time to think about fresh starts, setting goals, and healthy habits. As we head into this New Year, we’re offering up a few ideas for starting or deepening your connection with a healthy local food system.

2020 tested our food system and challenged us to creatively respond to new food access challenges. In the words of Vandana Shiva, “We need to reinvent our eating and drinking, our moving and working, in our local ecosystems and local cultures.”

As we set intentions and reflect on how to approach the New Year, we know that many of us are still feeling the impact of 2020. We’re limited in what activities we can do safely, and we all have different priorities to attend to. But even within those limits, you can still deepen your relationship with the local food system.

At SFC, we’re working to cultivate a just and regenerative food system so people and the environment can thrive, but we can’t do it alone. Whether you’re exploring new kinds of local food, minimizing food waste, or befriending a farmer we’d love to have you on this journey with us.

Are you ready to embrace a deeper connection with your food and your community? Here are a few ideas to get you started!

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1. Eat more local, seasonal produce.

Consider expanding the variety of local produce you eat. Maybe try a new local ingredient every season!

You can also challenge yourself to cook familiar local ingredients in new ways. Subscribe to the “Quick Bites | Probaditas” playlist on SFC’s YouTube channel for more inspiration.

You can also find recipes on SFC’s blog and in the latest edition of our cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes – now available as a digital edition!

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“I grew up eating regular red radishes in salads but had never tried adding them to hot meals. I did not realize how many varieties of radishes are grown in Texas. I recently tried adding daikon white radish in an omelet and love it!"

- NANCY SANCHEZ, Fresh for Less Promotora

2. Find ways to reduce food waste.

Cook all edible parts of the vegetable, including the skin! If you typically discard stems and leaves that can be eaten (turnip greens, beet greens, carrot greens) try freezing them to throw in smoothies or making a pesto out of them.

Save edible scraps in the freezer and use them to make broth (herb stems, smaller parts of onion, cabbage core, scrubbed carrot ends, and peels). If you aren’t going to use the broth in a recipe right away, freeze it for later.

Freeze fresh produce that you won’t get to use before it spoils. New to freezing? Check out our guide.


“This year, I set a goal to waste less food. I am trying to use parts of vegetables that I haven’t used in the past. For example, I tried making pesto out of carrot top greens recently and loved it! It goes great with a variety of dishes, but my favorite is using it as a sauce base for a flatbread."

MADDIE TOWNSEND, SFC’s Food Access & Education Coordinator

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3. Know your farmer!

Is there a local ingredient that nourishes your soul? If so, next time you visit the farmers’ market share your gratitude with the farmer who produces it.

You can also get more familiar with how your farmers operate. Make informed decisions by knowing where online shopping and delivery options are available, and by learning more about the products you are getting when buying local. Many of the farmers and vendors at our markets have social media pages that you can follow to learn more about their operation. Can’t remember the name of your favorite farmer? Check our vendor list! We had several new vendors start in January, so be sure to check them out, too.

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“I like the flavor of seasonal food. I remember I started visiting the market with my oldest son around 18 years ago. I am very excited to come to the market and see familiar faces. I enjoy discovering what is in season; for example, SFC Farmers’ Market at Sunset Valley had the most delicious apples until now. I am thinking of the flavor of those apples.”

- ANA BAUTISTA, WIC client at SFC Farmers' Market

As we turn our attention to the new year, many of you might be reflecting on how to welcome 2021 with strength. How can you gain resilience while supporting your community?

You are not alone. We will continue working together. When we think about the food system, we do not just think about the farmers, the food, or the economy. We’re also thinking about our whole community of eaters, including you, our readers! So when you are ready to think about how you can connect more with your local food system, whether it’s January 1st or June 1st, we invite you to connect with your local farmers, choose local, seasonal produce if you can, and try to waste as little as possible.

We’re sending you our best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.