Merchant of the Month – LocalHarvest

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Image of Local Harvest logo

Merchant of the Month – LocalHarvest

The best organic food is what’s grown closest to you. Dharma client and partner Local Harvest is well aware of this and developed a website to help consumers find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food locally. LocalHarvest is America’s #1 organic and local food website. They maintain a definitive and reliable “living” public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. The Local Harvest search engine helps consumers find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages them to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. The Local Harvest online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area. Dharma is grateful for the service Local Harvest provides for local farmers across the country. And, we love that we can search for practically any products we need through the lOcal Harbvest website: Organic veggies, fruits, eggs, honey, seeds, meat and fish, beeswax candles and hundreds of additional products.

Local Harvest was founded in 1998, and is now the number one informational resource for the Buy Local movement and the top place on the Internet where people find information on direct marketed family farms. Local Harvest now has more than 20000 members, and they are growing by about 20 new members every day. LocalHarvest is located in Santa Cruz, California, and was founded by Guillermo Payet, a software engineer, beekeeper and activist dedicated to generating positive social change through the Internet.

“The richness, variety, and flavor of our communities, food systems, and diets is in jeopardy,” says Mr. Payet. “The exclusive focus on economic efficiency has brought us low prices and convenience through large supermarkets chains, agribusiness and factory farms, while taking away many other aspects of our food lives, like our personal relationship with our food and with the people who produce it. More and more people are realizing this and actively working to turn the tide and to preserve a food industry based on family-owned, small scale businesses. They are our best guarantee against a world of styrofoam-like long-shelf-life tomatoes and diets dictated from corporate boardrooms.”

The Buy Local movement is quickly taking us beyond the promise of environmental responsibility that the organic movement delivered, and awakening US consumers to the importance of community, variety, humane treatment of farm animals, and social and environmental responsibility in regards to our food economy. Local Harvest is also the creator of the CSAware software platform that allows farmers to easily market their products and manage Community Supported Agriculture programs for members. CSAware helps farmers get their products to market so they have more time for the fields, according to Erin Barnett, director of Local Harvest. But as companies rush to cash in on shoppers’ desires for organic and local food, Barnett strongly encourages customers to do their homework and watch out for websites that “supplement” local foods or don’t inform customers about where their food comes from or what sort of arrangements they have with farmers. Definitely check out the Local Harvest website to find fresh, local farm products near you.