One of the objectives of the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force is to help residents know where to buy locally produced food, and to create community connections that support our growers and our local economy. This includes work to promote and increase the already robust access to community gardens for residents who wish to grow their own food. The Task Force is also compiling information on where residents can obtain locally grown food for free or reduced cost.
Why Buy Local?
Like the rest of New England, Fairfield has a long agricultural history. Though most of our former farmland has been developed into residential plots, Fairfield and our surrounding towns are still home to many thriving farms. These growers share an invaluable set of skills: understanding the complexities of growing food with the seasons and the turbulences of weather, and tending to their land such that it will continue to produce for future generations.
When we buy local, we are supporting these growers and also reaping the benefits of locally grown food for ourselves. Some of the many benefits include:
It’s better for us! Local foods are more fresh, seasonal, and thus more delicious and higher in nutrients than those that have been picked, packed for long-distance travel, or artificially ripened.
It’s better for the environment! Foods that are shipped thousands of miles have a high carbon footprint that can be avoided by buying locally. When we support local farms we are also helping to preserve green spaces and food crops that are well-suited to our local environment.
It’s better for our community! Buying from local growers helps keep that money circulating in the local economy rather than out-of-state. Buying locally also eliminates or reduces the costs of transport, distribution and shelving, so more of the money spent goes to the grower. Getting to know your growers is also a wonderful way to build community and a shared sense of value for our land and livelihoods.
Where to Buy Local
There has been an explosion of wonderful opportunities for residents to shop for local food from Fairfield and our surrounding towns in recent years. Here we compile a working-list of these sources. Please contact us to add to this list.
|Apiaries||Some resources for local honey
|Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)||Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) allow consumers to buy seasonal, local produce directly from a grower, in the form of a ‘share’ that is typically paid in advance of the growing season. Shares help farmers plan ahead for the growing season, knowing how much they need to grow and guaranteeing the income from that investment. In return, consumers receive a weekly share of the farm harvest throughout the season. CSAs are the most efficient way to support smaller farms and are typically the most cost-effective way to buy locally-grown food.
|Farm Stands||Check out these great local farm stands and catch whatever has been freshly picked!
|Farmers Markets||There are several farmers markets to visit in Fairfield and our neighboring towns, all of which are vital sources of income for the growers that attend, and a perfect opportunity to get the bulk of your grocery shopping done locally
|Grocery Stores||Many of the grocers in Fairfield offer local products as options while you are out doing your regular food shopping. You can support our local economy and reduce the number of miles the food has traveled by choosing those products.|
Are you a local grower and would like us to add you to our list? Do you have a business that sells local Fairfield food products? Would you like to edit the information in a listing above? Contact us!
Grow Your Own at Home
If you have the capacity, growing your own food is cheap, fun, and very rewarding. From a square foot garden to a row along your house or fence, even a small amount of sunny outdoor space can make for quite a productive vegetable garden. A list of places to purchase food plants and/or seeds locally is available here.
The Fairfield Woods Branch Library has a wonderful Seed to Seed Program, started by Fairfield’s community garden manager Eric Frisk. Plant seeds that are well-suited to our climate can be “borrowed” at no cost, with the request that you harvest the seeds of your resulting harvest to return to the library. Borrow a gardening book or two while you’re there!
Participate in a Community Garden
Fairfield is home to a number of community gardens that residents can benefit from. Click here for a list of community gardens.
Curbing Hunger with Local Food
For some residents of Fairfield and surrounding towns, simply having enough food on the table can be a challenge, regardless of where that food was grown. We are fortunate to have some wonderful social services available here in Fairfield, and through these services, the abundance of our local farms is also being shared.
Many of Fairfield’s community gardens, several local farms, numerous home-gardeners and CSA programs around town donate their excess (and gorgeous) produce and eggs to Operation Hope's food pantry and community kitchen.
For more information on purchasing and growing locally contact the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force.