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Why does food factor into sustainability?

Everyone needs to eat, and like anything in life, there are always ways to do it more sustainably. Eating local strengthens the entire community, not just the food system. There are environmental, economic, health and equity concerns in the food we eat; and the closer to home food originates, the easier it is to know how sustainable it is. In a local food system, farmers and small businesses are more invested in and can be held accountable for their impact on the community. Therefore, they are more likely to use practices that protect the environment. Farmers follow agricultural justice standards by providing fair labor conditions for workers. Plus, the produce is fresher and more nutritious. So why not spend money within in the community?

Ways to Get Involved

Personal Involvement

  • Start a Home Garden
    • No matter the space, there is a way to grow food at home. Whether it’s in a backyard, container or windowsill garden, Leon County has resources to help. The LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System offers a Seed Library program that gives cardholders access to a variety of free seeds each season. The Leon County Cooperative Extension is available to answer any gardening questions and hosts a number of workshops for gardeners of all skill levels.
  • Eat Seasonally
    • Why do strawberries always taste better in the warmer months? Because strawberries are in season in spring and early summer. Eating seasonal produce means there’s less travel time between the farm and your plate, and less fossil fuels used in the process.
  • Join, Start, or Volunteer at a Community Garden
    • Community gardens offer the opportunity to grow food and socialize, while providing benefit to the community at the same time. Whether it’s support through the first growing season or a place to swap best practices with a neighbor, a garden has something to offer everyone. As an added bonus, community gardens help clean the air, and raise the property value of surrounding neighborhoods. For more information, visit the Community Gardens page.
  • Buy a CSA share
    • Through Community Supported Agriculture programs, buying a share in a farm means getting a bag of farm fresh produce every week for the whole season. Read more about CSA on Local Harvest.
  • Visit a Farmers Market
    • There are multiple opportunities to buy farm fresh produce and local goods in Leon County, including the option to visit a farmer’s market online! Visit the Leon County Sustainability Map in order to learn more about our local farmer’s markets.
  • Preserve any extra produce to use in the winter
    • Waste not, want not! Since Florida has mild climate, there is more selection of fresh produce, but our selection is still limited seasonally. To help offset the less bountiful harvests of the colder months, extra produce can be canned, frozen, dried, dehydrated, pickled – the options are endless! The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a wealth of information on their website and more resources are available below.
  • Eat at restaurants that source locally
    • Whether it’s catching up with a friend over coffee, a forgotten packed lunch, or a celebratory dinner – eating out is inevitable. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of places that make an effort to source their produce locally - consider encouraging restaurants not on the list to think about sourcing locally grown produce. The Green Restaurant Association has tips on how to approach the conversation as well as other resources about further greening your dining experience.

Building Community

  • Get involved with the Tallahassee Food Network (TFN)
  • Join Sustainable Tallahassee (ST)
    • On the last Monday of every month, Sustainable Tallahassee hosts Green Drinks - not every month is about local food, but there is always information about how to be more sustainable. They have a number of committees working on different topics, several of which relate to increasing the viability of local food. Find out more on the Sustainable Tallahassee website or by emailing your questions to
  • Know your Farmer
  • Attend a local workshop
    • The Leon County community is full of ways to broaden those horizons. Check out the workshops hosted by Native Nurseries, the Public Library, the Edible Gardening Club, or Tallahassee Area Permaculture Guild, to name a small few. Learn how to do anything from beekeeping to planting fruit trees, from saving seeds to cooking a nutritious meal.
  • Volunteer




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