Saturday, February 12, 2011

Local Food Resources Guide

Last fall, the Common Ground Food Coop approached the library about collaborating on a bibliography featuring library materials and local resources on the theme of local food [1]. This, we thought immediately, was a very good idea.

The Coop had a fantastic collection of information on state and local organizations, and we had a good collection of books and videos.  We just needed to pare things down a bit to fit on an 11 x 17 sheet of paper and some nice local foodsy pics.  You know makes a local foods bibliography look good?  Photos of the Urbana Market at the Square taken by Lisa Braltz Kelly [2].

So, what's in the bibliography?  As I mentioned on WCFN's Page Turners segment on Tuesday morning, the guide is broken up into a few sections [3].  The first section includes books on the issues--why we care whether food is produced locally or from industrial food production.  These books approach the issues (including issues of health, environment, employment, and local economies, for example) from both broad and narrow scopes, and range from personal stories to more scholarly sorts of works.  There's even a book in this part of the list that disagrees with locavores, in case you're curious why anyone would argue with such level headed reasoning (stubborn devotion to theoretical free market economics).

The second section includes books for those of you who want to be more proactive in supporting local foods.  These books get very local, like the beginner gardening books to help you grow food in your back yard or your apartment patio.  This level of local just scales up from there--you can raise chickens or cattle, keep bees, make your own yogurt, start your own farm, and sell your produce at the farmers' market.

Want to leave the dirty work to the farmers' already working Central Illinois?  That's fine.  You might be interested in the books on community supported agriculture (CSA), budget-conscious local eating, or preserving or cooking food you got at the farmers' market.

The last part of the bibliography is the best because it provides information and links to a selection of state and local organizations through whom you can get involved in the local foods movement, learn to grow and raise your own food, rent land and actually grow your own food, and buy locally produced food.

You can get your own copy of the Local Food Resources guide at The Urbana Free Library or the Common Ground Food Coop.  You can also find the guide on the library's website [4].  Happy learning/growing/eating!

Freshly harvested local links:

1. The Common Ground Food Coop's site has location info, hours, and information on their highly popular classes and events.

2. Urbana Market at the Square's Flickr stream

3. You can see the video of me talking with Anne Dill (Part 1 | Part 2) on PageTurners at

4. Check out the online Local Food Resources guide

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