Monday, September 7, 2009

Up for the challenge?

Bleatings from EnviRambo.

While at my Food Co-op last week shopping for a new Diva Cup - I lost mine, don't ask. - I saw a display for Eat Local America! with a sign up board. I immediately scribbled my name on the sheet and grabbed a packet. On the way home I began to wonder what I had just so hastily signed up for.

The Eat Local America! challenge is hosted by natural food co-ops nationwide, the challenge celebrates our communities’ growing passion for foods grown or produced locally and the farmers, who make it all possible. Participants try to consume 80% of their diets (or four out of five meals) from food grown or produced locally.

My Co-op is hosting the challenge for ten days on an honor-based system. My packet included a pledge sheet with goals ranging from 10% to more than 90% - I think I will shoot for the 80%; a food log with headings for food consumed and its origin; a produce chart showing what is in season each month - May through September; a listing of area CSAs (Consumer Supported Agriculture) and Farmers' Markets; a guide of local and regional foods available at my Co-op; a small recipe booklet for super-easy local meals; and 10 reasons to eat locally.
  1. Buying local builds trust, and is safer for our families.
  2. Less fossil fuel is used to transport local foods.
  3. Local food tastes better.
  4. Local food is fresher.
  5. Buying local supports family farms.
  6. Buying local strengthens the local economy.
  7. Small farms are better for the environment.
  8. Eating locally supports biodiversity.
  9. Eating seasonally puts us in touch with the natural world.
  10. Local food reflects the real cost of food.
I already try to incorporate local foods into our diet, but do not really put that much thought into it. I just shop at the farmers' market. It does not get much easier than that. I am hoping this challenge will heighten my awareness through consciously choosing local foods. Things like dairy and eggs, flour and grains, meat, baked goods, and all the other things NOT available at my farmers' market. I am lucky to live in area rich with dairy products, eggs, artisan cheeses and breads, pasture-raised beef, farmers' markets, and organic farms. It is about time I start learning who they are and support them.

If you are interested in the national Eat Local America! challenge, check with your local food co-op to see if they are hosting. You can also search online at Curious about local foods, but do not know where to start? This would be the place. My co-op had everything I needed to get started in that packet. They have already done the leg work. All I need to do is use my eyes and gray matter to choose the product produced within 150 miles of me and my wallet to make the purchase.

Wisconsin hosts their 2009 Eat Local Challenge September 27 through October 4. October is also the month for another national Eat Local Challenge hosted by Maybe some of you participated last year? This one has been around since 2005. There is nothing posted yet for the 2009 challenge, but keep checking... hopefully something will be up soon.

If there are no challenges near you, make your own! Set a goal and timeframe and just do it. You do not have to go all out. The point of this exercise is just to make you more mindful. For more resources on finding local foods near you check out:

Now go Eat Local America!


DramaMama said...

We signed up for the WI one last year and I was a little bummed that there wasn't more info, involvement and exposure. I had pretty much forgotten all about it until your post! Thanks for bringing it to my and others' attention again =) I will keep checking. I wish I had more time to promote it myself...I will put it on my blog and facebook. I can do that! Thanks for the encouraging post!

The Mom said...

I've been trying to get our local consumption up over time. I would guesstimate that we're at about 50% local. Since just a few short years ago, that number was 0%, I'm pretty happy. The goal is for us to get to closer to 90%. Baby steps!

Daisy said...

What a great idea! I'd estimate we're still fairly low. In produce, we eat a lot of local, but meats are tougher. Dairy is either local or state-produced, and we buy our eggs from a coworker of my husband. I made a point of freezing a lot of fresh veggies; we'll eat local longer into the winter that way.

AnnMarie said...

Speaking of Diva cups, I bought one plus a bottle of Diva Wash and couldn't use it. Would you be interested in it? For more info, email me at paulukon at yahoo I'll ship it free. I've been looking for someone to give it and even moved it across country with me because I couldn't throw it away!

greeen sheeep said...

So far so good....
I have local milk, butter, eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, and of course produce from the farmers' market, but that's easy. We've been eating Ratatouille for a couple of nights in one form or another. Next week I am going to try to add in a little meat. I think I saw chicken at the larger farmers' market last week and there is a butcher a few towns over. I'm lusting for some bacon!


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