by the Editors
For the third year in a row, the Eat Local Challenge website, in association with the Locavores, is hosting a month-long Eat Local Challenge. This year, the challenge is in September with an emphasis on canning and preserving the bounty of September for the winter months.
During this time, nationwide participants focus on what foods are available in our local foodshed and how we can support our local farmers. This year, we have received many inquiries on the ways that supporters of the Eat Local Challenge can participate. While the original challenge premise involves eating as much food from your local foodshed as possible during the month, there are many ways that you can participate.
Here are just a few:
1) Commit to eating local for 30 days in September. To do this, define what "local" means to you -- be it a 100-mile radius or your entire state or region. Then designate any exceptions, define any extra goals you have during the month, and sign up on the Locavores website so that you can be counted.
2) Write about your experience with eating locally on your blog. What's it like in your area? Which parts of eating locally are easy, and which are difficult? What advice do you have for others? If you are participating, email us and tell us what state you live in. Then tag all posts with the term "EatLocalChallenge" so that we can find your posts. Want to show your support? Add an Eat Local Challenge logo to your site!
3) Take photos of local food, local farmers' markets and local farmers and post them to our Flickr group.
4) Make one local meal a week in September. Liz from Pocket Farm heads up the One Local Summer project which asks people to eat a local meal each week during the summer. You can participate in a modified One Local Summer by committing to preparing one local meal for your family weekly through September. Let us know how you do!
5) Submit original content about your eat local experience to the Eat Local Challenge blog to be posted during September. Email us your content or blog thoughts. All posts will be subject to our Creative Commons license.
7) Can, freeze, or dehydrate your local summer bounty so that you can spread your local eating into the winter.
8) Ask your supermarket manager where your meat, produce and dairy is coming from. Remember that market managers are trained to realize that for each person actually asking the question, at least 7 people want to know the same answer. Make a difference!
9) Find a local CSA and sign-up!
10) Find out what restaurants in your area support local farmers. You can do this by asking the restaurants about their ingredients directly, or by asking your favorite farmers what restaurant accounts they have.
11) Learn more about a farmer or a local producer by talking to them. Ask them about what they grow, what challenges they have had, why they choose to produce or grow what they are growing.
13) Start simple and small by replacing one food item a week. Find out who in your area roasts their coffee beans. Try replacing your fruit during September with locally grown fruit. Buy only locally grown tomatoes. It might be easier than you think!
14) Commit to learning more about the implications of growing food
on our enivronment, health and economy by reading some of the most
popular and influential writings in this area, including:
- Writings by Michael Pollan, especially Power Steer or The Omnivore's Dilemma.
- The Pleasures of Eating by Wendell Berry.
- Articles written for Grist by Tom Philpott.
- Plenty by Alisa Smith and JB MacKinnon.
15) Take your kids to a u-pick in your area. Can't find one? Call your local farmers' market association to see if they know of any.
16) Host a local foods potluck. Have friends over and invite them to bring foods made from locally grown products. A great way to learn about different locally grown products.
Why do we choose to eat local? Read our 10 Reasons to Eat Local.
Interested in eating local and need some tips? Read our tips for the Eat Local Challenge.
If you would like to read about challenges that we have participated in, please refer to the list below.
Let us know how we can help you eat local in September!