How to Eat Local & Stay Healthy



  • Eating local means contributing to the local economy. A dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community with every transaction.
  • Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.
  • Supporting local providers supports responsible land development. When you buy local, you give those with local open space–farms and pastures–an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.
  •  Buying food locally saves on transportation and energy and virtually eliminates wasteful spending for unnecessary packing and advertising, which together account for more than 20-percent of total food costs.
  • Eating local saves on transportation; estimates indicate that the average fresh food item travels about 1,500 miles from its points of production to final purchase.


  • buy in bulk
  •  join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – summer or winter
  • grow some of your own food
  • extend the harvest–food preservation and storage
  • local eggs are a great, affordable source of protein
  • make your own salad dressing
  • make stock/broth with bones from pastured animals; high in nutrients, low in cost
  • trade deli meats in for leftovers from larger cut of meat or extension of another meal – meatballs, roast chicken, ham
  • use more affordable cuts of meats –brisket, chuck, pork shoulder, heart, shank, hanger steak, shoulder chops
  • shop around the perimeter of the grocery store
  • cut out – prepared foods – cookies, cakes, granola bars, soda, boxed cereal, frozen and fast foods

There is a TON of local basil available right now, so buy in bulk and USE it! Pesto, basil lemonade, in salad dressing, homemade ice cream……and a great combo with strawberries too.

Basil Lemonade

First make the Basil Lemon Simple Syrup – Makes 5 cups


Basil Lemonade. Photo by Dana Robinson.


  • 4 cups packed fresh local basil sprigs (top 4 inches; from a 1/2-pound bunch)
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 8 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemonzest


  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Let stand at room temperature, covered, 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container and chill until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. Strain syrup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids.

Assembly of Lemonade

  • 2 cups basil lemon simple syrup (to taste)
  • 2 cups cold filtered water
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice

Stir together all ingredients in a large pitcher, then pour into tall glasses half filled with ice; add more basil lemon simple syrup to taste.


Kristen Lee-Charlson is recognized for her food consulting knowledge, exceptional menus and passion for the local food system. She has hosted a variety of modern homemaking classes from cheesemaking to butchery. Recently she founded the Heirloom Principles a consulting agency for chefs, institutions and individuals for the sourcing of locally-produced and sustainably-raised products. She is an accomplished chef, caterer and home-cook. As a mother of four, she is dedicated to educating and empowering others about traditional food preparation and the joy and economy of eating local. Kristen is a strong advocate for a more localized and resilient food system. Daily she creates and consumes real food for her family including sauerkraut stomped by her children’s bare feet and eggs from her backyard hens. As an urban renaissance woman her ambition is to eat more local pastured pork.

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