Shellfish have long been vital to the health of coastal economies and the health of their people. High in mood-boosting nutrients, oysters also work like water cleaners, filtering contaminants from water bodies. Depending on where you live, you could try your hand at raising your own oysters. In New York, Cornell University's Southhold Project in Aquaculture Training, or SPAT, trains amateurs in raising oysters along their own waterfront properties or in SPAT community "gardens." Oyster gardeners are allowed to keep half of what they raise and return the rest to repopulate oyster beds.
It's pretty easy to stay out of the supermarket during the growing season, but the winter months pose obvious challenges. Enter Farmigo.com, a new online ordering service that connects farmers and meat producers with customers and host sites. Customers can buy food on the site, which is then delivered to a nearby pickup location, a process that's similar to the way a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership delivery works.
Eggzy.net is another great local-food start-up. If you have a backyard chicken flock, register with the site and you can sell your eggs to people in your community on Eggzy's "virtual egg stand." As the site notes, "Don't eat eggs from strangers," which is usually what you're doing when you buy them at the supermarket.
LocalHarvest.org is a more seasoned website that has been connecting farmers and local-food lovers for several years now.
DIY Indoor/Outdoor 'Shrooms
Cultivate your own mushrooms at home and you'll never give the store-bought version the time of day again. You can cultivate your own outside fairly easily using the log method, or even grow them indoors using a handy kit from Back to the Roots.