Welcome to the City of Pittsburgh’s sustainable food information site! This site was designed to fulfill one of the key metrics of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 3.0: making information about sustainable food activities more accessible.
What is "local" food?
Local Food is food that was grown or produced within a certain radius of where it is consumed. The USDA uses a 400 mile radius for their definition of "Local Food", however, some local food advocates have stricter criteria of less than 100 miles. Pittsburgh food distributors and organizations, including Parkhurst, Paragon Foods, Giant Eagle, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Public School system promote a 150 mile radius for food to be considered locally sourced.
Why is local food important?
It's estimated that, on average in the US, food travels more than 1,500 miles from the farm to your plate. Local food is fresher, lasts longer, and tastes better than food that's traveled many miles to reach you. In addition, most of those foods are grown using heavy fertilizer and pesticide applications, both of which are made from fossil fuel, and cause environmental damage and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Local food, therefore, is more sustainable in a number of ways.
Buying local food also adds to the economic vibrancy of the region. In Western PA regional farmers offer a wide variety of food including vegetables, meat, dairy, fruit, and grains. When food producers sell locally, they get more money in their pocket since there are fewer steps to the sale.
Farmers Markets are a great way for farmers to sell directly to customers. Farmers Markets typically run from March through the end of November, and offer a wide variety of local products at good prices. Buy Fresh, Buy Local! Your support for our local farmers helps to strengthen our regional economy and makes Pittsburgh a more resilient city.
Farmers Market Study
In an effort to improve the markets that serve Pittsburgh residents, the City of Pittsburgh is conducting a comprehensive analysis of the farmers' market system. (the seven markets that Citiparks operates, as well as the 18+ markets operated by other organizations.) The goal of this study is to (understand the effectiveness of current markets throughout the city and) develop a plan for growth that improves equitable access to fresh, affordable, culturally appropriate food, supports our regional food producers and promotes healthy eating choices for all residents.
This 10-month research project (titled “Understanding and Improving Pittsburgh’s Farmers Markets“) will be completed in the late spring of 2018. The report will offer recommendations for supporting all farmers markets in the city and for establishing a network where operational issues and measurement strategies can be shared between markets. Check back for updated Follow the study's progress here
For information about vending at the City's farmers markets, please email email@example.com.