For the last three months, I have devoted my time to finding local and sustainable food sources Jacksonville, Florida and you might be wondering: why? After watching a Netflix documentary, “Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret”(If you’re ever bored and looking for something to watch, watch this. It is mind-boggling), I was intrigued on the statistics I was hearing and felt I needed to know more. From there I did my own research and came across a study conducted in 2011, “Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?” Jonathon A. Foley alongside many other scientists researched this question and concluded: YES, we can if we implement a 5-step global plan strategy.
- Stop expanding agriculture’s footprint (especially in tropical rain forests): clearing land increased carbon dioxide emissions and dramatically affects our biodiversity loss.
- Close our world’s yield gap
- Use our resources much more effectively: more crop output per unit of water, fertilizer and energy used.
- Shift diets away from meat: Did you know it takes approximately 660 gallons of water to produce one 1/3 pound burger?
- Decrease waste immensely: Fun fact- roughly 30% of all food produced is discarded, lost, spoiled or consumed by pests.These five alterations, fall under a larger umbrella: Choosing local and sustainable sources.
Therefore, I chose to conduct my own research to find as many local and sustainable food sources available for the community of Jacksonville within a radius of 50 miles from Hemming Park in downtown. But most importantly, I wanted to raise awareness for fostering and preserving local cuisine.
The “local food movement” and “locavore” trend is growing as more and more consumers become aware and hop on the wagon. Given that there is no legal definition for “local”, the term has organically developed on the basis of production, distribution and consumption of food. Locavores are consumers like us who only consume food which they know specifically how and where it was produced.
The local food system also relies heavily on sustainability- (meeting the needs of today without compromising our future) and finding the balance of economic, societal and environmental demand. Sustainable agriculture and sustainable sourcing are two approaches and techniques local farms incorporate into their daily regimes, enforcing good for the people and our planet.
WHY (but really, why not?):
There are many benefits to eating locally and sustainably but some of the top reasons include:
Supports our local economy
Benefits the environment and our natural resources
Promotes a safe food supply
Living in Florida, we are fortunate to have long growing seasons, creating many outlets that give us access to local foods as consumers. Four ways to become a “locavore” are:
Eat in season
Eat less meat
Eat organically and nonGMO
Endorse local chefs and restaurants
Below is a directory I created for the convenience of the Jacksonville community. All of the vendors and restaurants listed use locally sourced produce and ingredients.
Farmers Markets (21)Beaches Green MarketFarmers Market of San Marco
Hemming’s Plaza Farmers Market
Riverside Arts & Market
CSA Farms (2)KYV Farm
Down to Earth Farm
On Farm Markets (13)
Food Hubs (1)
First Coast Fresh
Locally Sourced Restaurants (20+) Moxie Kitchen and Cocktails BB’s
Funkadelic Food Truck
Grocery Stores (10) Fresh Market GrassRoots Natural Market
The Granary Whole Foods Market
A huge shout-out and thanks to the board members of GastroJax for allowing me to use their GastroFest as a place and outlet to conduct research! As well as the Organic Adventurer, Ana and the team at Black Sheep, Native Sun, and Moxie Kitchen and Cocktails.
Written by Cheyenne Gulick, Jacksonville University graduating senior.