Countdown to Earth Day Tip #5: Taste the Possibilities of Eating Local!

Countdown to Earth Day Tip #5: Taste the Possibilities of Eating Local!

  • There’s no need to wait until Earth Day on April 22 to start celebrating our planet and becoming more engaged in taking care of its precious resources. This article is part of a series of tips on how to “go green” in Kane County — 15 in all, one for every business day before Earth Day. Use them to tap into your inner eco-mindfulness and let your green spirit shine brighter than ever!
  • This article was written by Matt Tansley, Land Use Planner, Kane County Development Department

What does “local foods” mean to you?

This question might prompt thoughts of an occasional visit to the local farmers’ market or memories of starting a family vegetable garden. We all experience local foods in different ways, yet there are some unifying reasons why a growing number of people are consuming local. With more and more farmers and food retailers teaming up to bring their consumers the freshest ingredients, some might say that we are entering a golden age of local foods.

And for Kane County and the surrounding region there are an abundance of reasons to eat local.

Freshness Keeps ‘Em Coming Back

Heritage Prairie Farm microgreens.

One of the reasons that so many are drawn to the direct-to-consumer sales outlets (farmers’ markets, farm stands, and CSAs) is that the buyer knows that they are purchasing products that were likely picked from the grower’s fields that same day.

Grocery and restaurant retailers are also catching on and are increasingly finding ways to showcase these local products on menus and in grocery aisles. Consumers and food retailers that buy local also place a premium on knowing the farmer and the methods used to grow their food.

Whether it’s Heritage Prairie Farm’s microgreens or Wiltse’s asparagus or any of the other dozens of food farm businesses folks are willing to go out of their way for fresh, high quality products.

A Local Food System Is a Sustainable One

While most of the farmland in Kane County and neighboring areas is cultivated for commodity crops, many farmers are setting aside portions of land for growing specialty crops.

This diversification allows farmers to reach more product markets and keep more of their land in production, reducing the likelihood of valuable farmland being sold off for development. A growing number of farmers are adopting organic and other sustainable methods of growing, intended to prolong health and productivity of their fields while diminishing negative environmental impacts.

Local Means Community

The farm stands, markets and other places where local foods are sold are so much more than places commerce — they are gathering spaces for neighbors, families and friends. When you purchase local foods you are ensuring that more local food dollars are kept within the community, supporting shared economic prosperity.

Many farms have evolved to capture agritourism dollars by offering on-farm experiential learning opportunities and hands-on activities (e.g. Kuipers Family farm and Goebert’s Pumpkin Patch among others)

Kane County’s Direct-to-Consumer Farms

Below you will find many of the farms in Kane County offering direct-to-consumer sales of fresh produce and other food products.

Farmers Markets in Kane County

  • Aurora Farmers’ Markets
  • Batavia Farmers Market
  • Geneva French Market
  • Geneva Green Market
  • Downtown Elgin Harvest Market
  • Elgin Winter Market & Farmers Market
  • Old Dundee Farmers Market – East Dundee
  • St. Charles Farmers Market
  • Sugar Grove Farmers Market

Farm Stands in Kane County

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Food Cooperatives (currently under development)

  • The Green Tomato – Batavia
  • Shared Harvest – Elgin

About the Kane County Regional Food Hub

Kane County is also supporting efforts to help local food farmers to sell their products through wholesale channels more easily by working with community partners to launch a regional food hub. The enterprise would provide processing, aggregation, distribution and advisory services to meet the needs of farmers and wholesale food purchasers. To learn more and follow the progress of this project, visit the county’s informational webpage.

Read the Countdown to Earth Day Series!