Sustain yourself! Winter's over, and we like to think those are localvores, not invasive frogs, trilling sweet songs of joy. Even if you don't restrict yourself to food grown within a hundred miles, buying what's produced as near as possible saves those fossil fuels burnt in long-distance transport. Plus, in addition to reducing global-warming carbon emissions, you're supporting smaller family farms, independent businesses and hence your local economy, which, after all, you're a pretty important part of. If San Francisco residents redirected only 10 percent of their spending to local businesses, it would provide the city an additional $192 million and 1,300 jobs, a 2007 retail study found.
You can find your nearest farmers markets by entering your zip code at Local Harvest. And keep an eye out for handy green guides to specific cities, rolling out from Greenopia. They provide a full spectrum of local green products and services, including eateries and drinkeries, home and garden supplies, personal beauty, clothing, eco dry/wet cleaners, pest control, utilities, banking and finance, environmental organizations and more. Greenopia New York City comes out this spring, joining their Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area guides.
You can also search by zipcode for green products you fancy, such as bamboo or recycled wood flooring, at Yokel (as, we guess, in local). Or, type in your state to find green businesses and organizations with the new "Breaking the Chains: Buy Local, Organic, Fair Made" search tool at the Organic Consumers Association.
Foodies, there's more: For grass-fed animal products in your area, consult Eat Wild's directory. To find a nearby restaurant serving organic, heirloom, local, artisanal, etc. specialties, enter your zip code in the Chefs Collaborative sustainable restaurant directory.
As the price of fuel, both fossil and bio, drives up the cost of food, we can counterbalance the weight on our budgets by buying local, as much as possible, from outlets we can walk, bike or take mass transport to. A neat trick while simultaneously losing tons of carbon!
This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2008. The story was added to MNN.com.