It's estimated that the average piece of food in America travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your plate. Local food is food that is grown, processed and sold in Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania.
Food that is shipped long distances takes a lot of energy to package and transport. Eating locally reduces the environmental impact of food choices.
The Citiparks Farmers' Markets program holds weekly farmers' market gatherings throughout the City on different weekdays. Farmers' markets are a traditional way that farmers and craft-makers have sold their produce and products. They typically occur on a weekly basis and feature seasonal, locally grown produce. For a schedule of the markets and more information, please check out Citiparks Farmers' Markets.
Community gardens are open to everyone and provide green space in urban areas. They are typically managed and maintained by members of the local community or a non-profit group, rather than tended only by professional staff. Community gardens provide access to fresh produce and plants while bringing communities together. You can learn more about community gardens in Pittsburgh through Grow Pittsburgh.
Flower and vegetable gardens grown on private residential property create green space that can reduce stormwater runoff, capture carbon and provide wildlife habitat. Backyard gardens can also provide free, healthy food. Growing your own food reduces your carbon footprint, while providing healthy food. To learn more about starting your own garden, check out information from the Penn State Cooperative Extension or Phipp's Conservatory.
A CSA is an arrangement that connects consumers and growers. Community members who belong to a CSA provide the capital necessary to support a farming enterprise. In exchange, they receive a weekly shipment of fruits and vegetables, and sometimes dairy and meat. In this model, the growers and the consumers share both the benefits and the risks of growing food. More information on finding local foods close to your home can be found at www.buylocalpa.org.