The idea of a local economy rests upon only two principles: neighborhood and subsistence.
To the small farmers of Montana Sustainable Growers’ Union, this is at the heart of why we do what we do. Our relationship with the earth through agriculture is wholly dependent on our relationship with our community.
For organic farmers, this relationship is being defined by organic certification under the National Organic Program. We appreciate the value of certification for growers who cannot engage in a direct relationship with their customers. Our organization, on the other hand, will prioritize the relationship between growers and customers, thus enhancing the value of community and a local economy
Most Growers’ Union members have been certified organic in the past, and some still are. The Growers’ Union provides a local, accessible alternative to organic certification, as well as encouragement for small producers and our customers. We believe that when the principles of neighborhood and subsistence are brought together, growers and customers collaborate to protect and nurture that which we cherish.
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Food should rightly be the centerpiece of culture. It connects us to place. Local culture, therefore, is shaped by local agriculture. Eating locally provides not only fresh, seasonal food, but also opportunities to engage in the whole culture of agriculture: visiting farms, knowing your farmers, sharing food and recipes with family and friends, celebrating place and bounty.
When we buy local produce, our food supply is not at the whim of national economic tides. It is rooted in the climate and commitment of our neighbors. Homegrown farmers buy and sell in this valley, and thereby contribute to the economic health of this place.
Homegrown products don’t have to travel around the world to reach us. Buying Homegrown saves the energy required to ship food across the globe and puts that energy where it should be: in sound, local farming practices that conserve not only energy but also air, water, soil, and habitat.
Each of the Homegrown farmers pledges not only to improve soil quality and to refrain from using chemicals, but also to enrich all habitat on the land we work.
Food grown in our region is fresher by hundreds of miles than that typically sold in supermarkets. Furthermore, it is grown with the utmost care on farms that are open to your visits.
The power wielded by our food choices may not be immediately obvious. But how and where our food is grown has ripple effects throughout our lives: land use, transportation, conservation, energy, health, hunger, impacts on foreign cultures, and more. By choosing locally grown food, we could help reshape the political, cultural, and physical landscapes at home and abroad.