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Due to shorter transport durations and less need for preservatives, foods that are in season and cultivated locally tend to be fresher, and richer in flavour. The reduced environmental impact also makes these products a sustainable decision. Products sourced from local farmers' markets require less transportation compared to fruits and vegetables shipped across oceans. However, Reuters also highlights that it is also important that the product is seasonal, otherwise its storage may produce twice as many emissions as sourcing goods from different countries. Finding local and seasonal foods is not difficult anymore. Now, apps allow us to easily choose our groceries from local sources and in season.
Seasonal Food Guide had to be first on the list. Based in the United States, the app provides an extensive digital database that helps consumers support their local food system and consume fresh, in-season goods. It is available as a website and app, and it uses a zip code or geolocation to produce an extensive list of over 140 different types of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and herbs that are in season for a specific region and time of year. App users can browse the data offline and set reminders for their favourite seasonal cuisine.
Additionally, the platform connects users to the Real Food Encyclopaedia, where users can find recipes, and information for their products. It also provides shopping advice and rates the sustainability of the products you are buying.
Eat Seasonal offers a user-friendly approach that makes it effortless to identify fruits and vegetables that are in season. Based in the United Kingdom, the app started from the desire to make navigating markets and plan meals for the season easier. With a few taps on your phone, users get a clear and concise guide of which products are fresh. The platform also offers an ever-growing recipe repertoire that highlights the goods currently in season. A carefully selected list is constantly updated to be aligned to the time of the year.
Farmish aims to shrink the food chain and create communities. It focuses on small-scale farmers and gardeners and connects them with the community. The app is also highly user oriented. Through simple steps, users can create their own listing of products, and buyers can contact them; then, both agree on how to deliver the products. Farmish takes back farming to the backyards and connects neighbors with one another. Moreover, if you feel ready to start your own garden, this is the right app. Users can also buy supplies from other gardeners to grow their own products.
As its name suggests, Farm Fresh 24/7 links people to locally produced goods, accessible 24/7. It promotes organic, sustainable, and fair-trade practices through connecting local farms. The app encourages consumers to make informed grocery decisions while supporting local communities and putting health and values first. Farm Fresh 24/7 provides users with convenience, local shopping choices, and access to fresh, high-quality produce. Furthermore, the platform also assists chefs and restaurateurs to prioritise local ingredients by sourcing and curating products from their neighborhoods. It works as a virtual farmers market with farmers and vendors able to sell their products safely without the need to commute.
Growers, fishers, farmers, markets, breweries, farm gates, you name it. If it is local, it is probably in the Local Food Loop. This Australian app connects customers to authentic local food growers, makers, markets, and sellers. The app is growing fast and is on the way to being one of the most extensive directories of local food products and vendors in the country. Local Food Loop wants to create stronger relationships between local people and local food. The establishments featured in the app share strong mutual connections, avoiding impersonal, face-less networks. Moreover, users can also suggest places or list their own local food place on the app.
Finally, Sprout is another ideal option for home growers. The app gives backyard farmers the opportunity to buy, swap & sell their produce. In a matter of seconds, small farmers are connected to their community. Sprout wants to connect communities to affordable, fresh, and healthy options. The Australian app also has a no-waste aim of encouraging families and small growers to sell their excess products and generate an extra source of income on the side. Sprout is also a great option for those opting for a sustainable, plant-based diet providing healthy goods and information on plant-based diets.
Some of the apps mentioned already have their own catalogue of recipes. However, if you are new to buying seasonal and local, here are some apps that can guide you through your recipes.
The French cooking app Kuri is an eco-friendly option for meal planning and grocery shopping. Kuri updates recipes monthly for peak flavor and freshness, emphasizing seasonal ingredients. The app can tailor recipes to users' dietary preferences, cooking skills, and pantry contents. It can also adapt meals depending on allergies and eating habits. Above that, Kuri syncs shopping lists to meal plans, simplifying the grocery shopping process.
Sometimes, recipes ask for ingredients that are not local or seasonal. We can use SuperCook to tailor our recipes to specific ingredients and reduce food waste. By choosing what we already have, the app can generate recipes using exclusively those ingredients. If we forget any item, the app allows us to use a built-in grocery list. Users can filter recipes based on meal type, cuisine, diet, time, among other options. We can adapt recipes for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or other dietary needs.
Apps provide a convenient way to buy local and seasonal goods. However, if we do not have the apps for any reason, we should still not be discouraged to buy these products. The objective of many of these platforms is to create a community. We can still go in person to a farmer’s market and meet our local supplier in person. Either by joining a community-supported agriculture initiative or changing conscious choices while grocery shopping, we can adopt more sustainable and healthier habits, while supporting the farmers and growers in our community.
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