Show Locals Some Love. Join the 50% Local Food Club

50% Local Club

We all eat, but according to statistics from a few years back, the amount of local food in the average Nova Scotian’s diet was only about 13%. Seems a little out of balance for a province with a bounty of locally grown produce from apples to zucchini. Not to mention meats, seafood, dairy and other products available year-round.

Well the good news is that September is the ideal month to add a little more local to your life because we’re at the height of the harvest season. And the even better news is that the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia have created a really easy way to do it in September. It’s called the 50% Local Food Club, and it’s based on simple idea – meet farmers halfway by pledging to eat 50% local during September. And when we do, everybody reaps the benefits. It’s a unique opportunity to support local farmers and put more of your food dollars right back into the local economy. It’s also the perfect way to learn about the variety of produce and products available right here in Nova Scotia.

Does 50% seem like a huge number? It’s really not when you think about the opportunities around us from fresh Nova Scotia vegetables to meats, seafood, eggs and dairy, baked goods, pickles, jellies, jams and all kinds of other options. How about a bottle of Nova Scotia wine, fruit juice or a NS craft beer with dinner? 50% adds up pretty quickly. Maybe it’s an omelette with local eggs for breakfast or a sandwich made with fresh local bread for lunch or a side of local veggies with dinner. And you know what else? Local restaurants are also an important part of the 50% Local Food Club, so feel free to dine out. Just ask what’s local and count it as part of your total. You don’t even have to cook.

Signing up is easy and it’s something you can do by yourself, with your family or at work with co-workers. You can also challenge friends to join you. All you need to do to get started is sign up here. And did we mention that there are plenty of resources available online to help you easily make 50% part of your life?

Selectnovascotia.ca has a searchable where to buy local database, along with plenty of local recipes to inspire you.

Farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca is another great site to find local markets near you along with plenty of other information and ideas.

And of course, the 50% Local Food Club website is also a wealth of goodness including local ingredient recipes to get you through 30 days with a smile on your face. Want to find a restaurant serving local? Those are listed too. There’s even a sample one-week meal plan with local worked into every meal. Plus, when you sign up you get access to even more tools including a printable food journal and planner to help track your progress.

Last year, the Local Food Club saw more than 3000 people sign up including community and civic leaders and businesses from around the province. This year, we’re aiming for 5000.

The 50% Local Food Club is also about strengthening the understanding and appreciation about where our food comes from. On September 20th, Open Farm Day gives Nova Scotians a chance to visit farms across the province to learn more about the food we eat, to meet the farmers and to see the impact of spending your money locally. On Saturday, September 19th, we’ll also be hosting a live Twitter chat with a number of farmers around the province about Open Farm Day, so join us. Details about the chat and an interactive map of all the open farms in the province are here.

Let’s go back to the beginning of this story and the 13% number. Imagine the difference we can all make in our lives and the lives of local producers if we raise that to 50%. We eat well, we discover new delicious local products, and we put more money in local farmers pockets. Besides, how many other chances do you get in life to do something halfway and have the results turn out great? September is the month and the 50% Local Food Club is your chance to try something new and make a small change with big benefits.

Signing up is easy and it’s something you can do by yourself, with your family or at work with co-workers. You can also challenge friends to join you. All you need to do to get started is sign up here. And did we mention that there are plenty of resources available online to help you easily make 50% part of your life?