Just like there is no one definition for “local”, there is no one best way to search out local foods. Local foods are available for purchase at businesses like grocery stores and restaurants or purchased directly from growers at farmers’ markets, auctions, farm stands or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).  In addition to these online directories, there are many resources promoting local food from regional and county-wide sources. Different parts of the state have different resources. Look for information from Ohio Food Councils, Ohio State University Extension offices, Ohio County Farm Bureaus, The Ohio Sustainable Farm Tours and Workshop Series as well as lists at locally-owned businesses.

This summary of online local food directories, listed in alphabetical order is not an exhaustive list but it is a starting point for Ohio consumers to locate favorite local foods. pdf version

Title: Farmers’ Market Directory, USDA

Link: http://search.ams.usda.gov/FARMERSMARKETS/

Sponsor/Organization: United States Department of Agriculture

Area Covered:  national scope, search by zip code and geographic proximity. There are 312 farmers’ markets listed in Ohio.

Listing Qualifications:  any markets that feature two or more farm vendors selling agricultural products directly to customers at a common, recurrent physical location. Managers of farmers’ markets are encouraged to periodically review and update information.

Short Description:  Access to information about farmers’ markets including:

  • Market locations and directions
  • Operating times
  • Product offerings
  • Accepted forms of payment including if markets accept Federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), WIC Cash Value Vouchers, WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Markets Nutrition Program

Search By: zip code, geographic proximity, product availability, payment method and Federal nutrition programs. Also search by state as well as the official name of the farmers market.

In addition: the USDA has recently created three new Local Food Directories for (1) community-supported agriculture operations (CSAs), (2) food hubs and (3) on-farm markets. http://www.usdalocalfooddirectories.com/

 

Title: Good Earth Guide to Organic and Ecological Farms, Gardens, and Related Businesses

Link: http://www.oeffa.org/search-geg.php

Sponsor/Organization: OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association)

Area Covered: Nearly 450 farms, markets, and businesses in Ohio and the Midwest

Listing Qualifications:  only open to current OEFFA members, the listings are self-reported (certification status is verified) and must be updated every 2 years to remain in the guide

Short Description:

The searchable online directory identifies sources for locally grown vegetables; fruits; herbs; honey; maple syrup; dairy products; grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb; free-range chicken and eggs; fiber; flour and grains; cut flowers; plants; hay and straw; seed and feed, and other local farm products.

Each listing includes name and contact information, products sold, a farm or business description, and whether the farm or business is certified organic. Many listings also include locations and maps for where the farm or business products are sold. The directory includes tools that make it easy to search the listings for a specific product, business or contact, by county, or by sales method.

The purpose of the Good Earth Guide is to make connections:

  • Connecting consumers to local farms and associated businesses so that their dollars support        wholesome food and farm-related products produced using ecologically supportive practices.
  • Connecting farmers with other farmers to network with and develop business relationships that support a successful farming community.
  • Connecting businesses and farmers who are working to provide healthy, local food and farm-related products.

Search by:  product, county, farm/business name. Additional search options include: organic certification, and purchasing opportunities like CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), wholesale, retail, and on-farm sales.

 

Title:  The LocalHarvest National Directory

Link: http://www.localharvest.org/

Sponsor/Organization: LocalHarvest

Scope:  Over 30,000 family farms and farmers markets, along with restaurants and grocery stores that feature local food in the United States of America as well as Canada

Listing Qualifications:  Farmers or farmers’ market managers create and maintain their own business listing

Short Description:  Connecting people looking for good food with the farmers who produce it. There are almost two million farms in the USA. About 80% of those are small farms, and many are family owned. Farmers sell products directly to the public via CSA programs, Farmers' Markets, Food Coops, u-picks, farm stands, and other direct marketing channels as well as online orders.

Search By:  product and location (city or zip code) or events, or venue (CSA, Farms, Farmers Markets, Restaurants, Grocery/Co-op, U-Pick, Farm Stand, Wholesale, Meat Processors)

In addition to food:  soaps/body care, herbal tinctures, gift basket, farm crafts, wool and fibers, pet needs, flowers, seeds and events

 

Title: Ohio Market Maker, Linking Agricultural and Seafood Markets

Link: http://oh.foodmarketmaker.com/

Hosted and Maintained by: OSU Extension, in partnerships with Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Department of Agriculture, CIFT and OGIC and Riverside Research, an independent not-for-profit organization.

Short Description: 

  • National network of states that connect farmers and fishermen with food retailers, grocery stores, processors, caterers, chefs, and consumers.
  • Connecting producers reaching new markets; buyers connecting with local or specialty suppliers; or consumers looking for goods and services in the area
  • Virtual infrastructure that brings healthier, fresher, and more flavorful food to the average consumer.

Search By: Product, Business type (buyer, eating and drinking place, farmer/rancher, farmers market, fishery, food bank, food retailer, processor/packing shed, tourism, wholesaler, winery), State or zip code

In addition to food: tourism

Title: Ohio Proud

Link:  http://ohioproud.org/products.php

Sponsor/Organization: Ohio Proud is the Ohio Department of Agriculture's marketing program that identifies and promotes food and agricultural products that are made in Ohio and grown in Ohio.

Listing Qualifications:  In order to be eligible to join the Ohio Proud program, agricultural products must be at least 50% raised, grown, or processed in Ohio.

Short Description:

  • When you see the Ohio Proud logo, you know you are getting Ohio-made and grown products. From fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, to dairy products and snack foods, you can find Ohio Proud products in your favorite grocery store and at your local Farm Market.
  • Ohio Proud is a quick and reliable way for you to identify Ohio-made and grown goods.

Search By: Company Name or Product Category, County, City with checkbox for Organic Products and Bulk Buy Options 

In addition to food: grain production, animal feed products,  nursery and greenhouse, wool products, lumber, wood, compost, , Christmas trees, poinsettias, fresh-roasted whole bean and ground coffee, fertilizers, cut flowers, decorative squash, artisanal spirits, skin and hair products

 

Title: Our Ohio Buying Local Directory

Link: http://ourohio.org/food/buying-local

Sponsor/Organization: Ohio Farm Bureau

Scope/Location/Area Covered:

Listing Qualifications: member in good standing of Ohio Farm Bureau and businesses operated by the producer of the agriculture/horticulture products being sold directly to the consumer, restaurants sourcing local ingredients

Short Description:  Connects customers to farms and farmer.  Businesses found in the Directory typically fall into one of these categories:

  • Roadside stand or market
  • Farm market
  • Farmers market
  • Winery
  • Christmas tree farm
  • Pick-your-own or U-pick
  • Garden center/retail greenhouse
  • Agritourism (corn maze, hayrides, etc.)
  • Restaurants
  • Produce auction
  • Community Supported Agriculture.

Search By: : item,  location (zip code and choose number miles),  season (spring, summer, fall, winter)

In addition to food:  agritourism opportunities, plant nurseries, wineries and Christmas tree growers

 

No endorsement is intended for products listed, nor is criticism meant for products not listed.  

Additional Resources:

Ohio Food Councils http://glennschool.osu.edu/food/

Ohio State University Extension offices http://extension.osu.edu/

Ohio State University Extension Local Foods Signature Program, http://localfoods.osu.edu