One of the best ways to shop local here at CNFC is in our produce department. We define “Local” as grown within the greater Butte County area in a radius of 150 miles. However, the majority of our local farmers and growers are located the in a 50 mile radius with many being within 10 miles of Chico. Our Produce Department buys directly from over 50 farms and small growers in and around Butte county ranging in size from backyard gardeners to full production organic farms. Butte County is blessed to have an amazing agricultural diversity being able to grow tomatoes, citrus, and passion fruit to broccoli and kale.
Not only do we have a great diversity of local produce but our local farmers are dedicated to Organic farming and sustainable agriculture. All of our local produce is either Certified Organic or sustainably grown using OMRI (Organics Material Review Institute) approved input and home grown fertilizers. During the 2014 growing season the Co-op has been visiting many of our local growers to get a better understanding of each individual’s unique growing practices and extra efforts they take to enhance the soil, ecosystems, and general well being of the land they steward and the produce they grow. We have been thoroughly impressed by the amazing efforts and passion that all of our growers have for organic and sustainable agriculture. We are proud to support all of the farms and growers who sell to us.
In 2013, Chico Natural Foods Cooperative averaged 22 percent of all of our purchases directly from local farmers and growers, peaking at 33 percent at the height of growing season. That translates to over $127,000 directly to local farmers which in turns stays in our local economy. We aim to increase that number this season and in the upcoming 2015 season by working more closely with local farmers, coordinating planting and harvesting calendars, and helping immerging small growers find their niche in our department and local food movement.
So come in to the Co-op during September to help support the local food movement and all of the amazing farmers and growers who help make our department a vibrant, beautiful, fresh and tasty part of your Chico Natural Foods Cooperative shopping experience.