Local Food Swaps for Sustainable Shopping

May 4, 2020

I love oranges as much as the next person, but the reality is that I live in the Midwest and they don't exactly grow here. As I commit to limiting my food supply to local farms and reducing my carbon footprint, I am chronicling my ideas and adventures into finding a truly local diet.

Here are some ideas to swap our everyday foods for local and sustainable options:

Lunch meat - cook up a roast or whole chicken, shred or slice, and keep in a container for sandwiches or to top salads throughout the week. Also consider making a batch of chicken or egg salad once a week. 

Avocado and olive oil - Illinois-grown sunflower oil (Source: Spence Farms)

Coconut oil - tallow or lard (ask a local farmer for beef or pig fat)

Juices - make concentrates when fruits are local and in season, or add herbs or fruits to water once a week for taste.

Soda/pop- Local kombucha and water kefir. 

Alternative milk - making your own oat milk may be the easiest and cheapest, but you can make milk out of any nuts or even bark. 


This is a big one. I love having apples, oranges, and bananas on hand. But as much as possible, I want to try to swap for local options.
Banana and mango - paw paw tree fruit
Cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, pears and apples grow well in the Midwest, but are in season only so long. Look for ways to preserve these, whether it be drying, canning, making butter or sauce. 
Berries are readily available in the Midwest in season. Raspberries are found on the edges or in forests, gooseberries, blackberries, and even blueberries are readily available. 

Danielle Olson Jones

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