Published: May 13, 2021 By

Getting seasonal and local food is a great way to save money, eat healthy and support your local economy. Here are some tips for finding local food and produce this summer.

Visit a farmers market

Farmers come to markets with whatever is ripe and ready in their fields at the time. You’ll likely find different produce depending on when and where you go. Many markets also feature cheeses, breads, salsas, jams and more. No matter where you are, a farmers market is a great way to score delicious, affordable and local food. 

The Boulder County Farmers Markets currently offer curbside pickup and reservation times. Most farmers markets happen regularly on specified days of the week. Vendors and items available may differ depending on the day you visit. View a full list of Colorado farmers markets.

Join a CSA program

Community supported agriculture (CSA) programs are a great option for those who don’t have space to grow their own food. Joining a CSA program helps support a local farm, and you get to enjoy the harvest. Think of it as a subscription to local produce. You pay a fee, usually monthly or annual, and each week you get straight-from-farm seasonal produce. 

Many CSA programs will accommodate dietary restrictions and quantities. Some include not only vegetables, but meat, dairy, eggs and other farm-grown food like honey. CSA programs are a great way to try new foods and add variety to your diet. Check out available CSA programs in Colorado.

tomatoUse a community garden

A community garden isn’t just about growing food—it’s about engaging directly with your community. Community gardens can help you meet neighbors, practice a hobby and learn about growing your own food.  

Community gardens can operate in a variety of ways, and it’s best to ask if you are interested in participating in a community garden near your residence. If you live in the Boulder area, there are resources available for finding available community gardens and supporting events, and volunteers are often needed. If you aren’t in Colorado, search the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) for a garden near you.

Grow food at home

Whether you've gardened before or are looking to get started, consider growing food at home. Gardening doesn’t have to mean raised produce beds and constant maintenance. Regardless of your experience level or where you live, this is a great time to grow your own food. 

When you are getting started, it’s easier to grow from starter plants rather than growing from seeds. Check with local grocers and nurseries for a variety of heirloom plants. Whether you’re in Colorado or out of state this summer, do some research on gardening in your climate to find out when you should plant outside.  Remember to have fun and share your harvest!

Finding ways to eat locally has many benefits. It supports local farms and reduces carbon footprints by offsetting transportation emissions and packaging waste. Get more tips by reviewing our Sustainable Buffs guides.

Sustainable Buffs is a series brought to you by the Environmental Center. Learn more sustainability tips and ways to get involved at colorado.edu/ecenter.