A new guide to locally grown food promises to offer shoppers a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to mainstream produce.
The first edition of the Local Food Guide for Ventura, Santa Barbara and Northern Los Angeles Counties was released to local health food stores on Jan. 21. The collection of articles describes the health and environmental benefits of consuming local food products and also provides tips for finding the best local fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat and dairy goods.
The guide — compiled by the Environmental Defense Center, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and the Ventura County Ag Futures Alliance — is intended to inform consumers about healthy food options available in the community.
Karen Schmidt of VCAFA said the guide also includes a comprehensive list of growers, restaurants and retailers who buy and sell locally.
“This new guide provides reliable information on where to find delicious, high-quality fresh foods grown by people you can look in the eye, on farms that are within arm’s reach of home,” she said.
Health advocate Betsy Weber of the EDC in Santa Barbara, a contributor to the guide, said she frequents Isla Vista Food Co-op, Lassen’s Natural Foods, Sojourner Restaurant and Fairview Gardens when shopping for her own organic produce.
Weber claims that consuming foods tainted by pesticides and hormones can be detrimental to both physical and mental well-being. Subsequently, she said, the newly released guide can help serve as a guide for curbing weight issues and addressing mental health conditions.
While similar guides have been created and made available for Northern California residents, this is the first of its kind pertaining to Southern California. Future editions of the guide intend to include the rest of Los Angeles County as well.
The guide is available online at www.buylocalca.org and www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org