Give the gift of local food

Consider a gift that is sure to satisfy as it supports your community the next time you’re looking for something special for the food lover in your life.

Giving the gift of local food is one way that you can not only make friends and family happy, but also support your local community. There has been a larger push to use the holiday gift-giving season as a way to support local businesses, and local food was no exception. Just like a friend or family member may have a favorite local artist or craftsmen, they may also have a favorite local chef.

There are many simple and creative ways to incorporate local food into your gift-giving in the coming year. Purchasing family members a share in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) from a local farm is a great local food gift. This gift can provide months of fresh produce, eggs/milk, beef, chicken or pork. CSA shares are great gifts for both the newbie and the seasoned foodie on your list. While it is great to surprise our friends and family with gifts, a CSA share is one that might need to be discussed with the recipient prior to purchase since it may require some work on their part to both pick-up on a weekly basis and use all of the delicious food that comes with it. To find a local CSA near you or your loved ones, visit this Michigan CSA directory.

Another great way to give the gift of local food is by purchasing gift certificates to local restaurants that support the region’s local food. Many restaurants across the state have made the commitment to sourcing their food directly from local farms and local processors. A gift certificate to one of these establishments or restaurant groups like Essence Restaurant Group in Grand Rapids, Mich. supports a local business and helps support local farmers and producers.

A third way to give the gift of local food is through the purchase and gifting of value-added products like breads, cheese, jams, jellies and honey. There are hundreds of producers of local artisan foods like these listed across the state of Michigan. These local-crafted foods work great when combined into a local food gift basket or when paired with a favorite local beer or wine. Michigan is home to a bounty of high quality breweries and wineries which make great gifts. Most breweries sell their own refillable growlers which make the perfect gift for the local beer lover.

However you choose to give the gift of local food, know that you will not only be making your friends and family members holiday season, but will be supporting your local farmers and food economy as well.

For more great local food gift ideas especially for holidays, visit Local First’s Holiday Gift Guide. Local First is an organization in Grand Rapids that is committed to the support of the local economy. They work on several projects in the area and are working with Michigan State University Extension on a new local food initiative.

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