Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eat Local Challenge

September 2007 is Eat Local Month, according to Locavores (and many other foodie sites), and the idea is simple. For one month, try to eat what is local in your area. The challenge can take on many aspects, I guess it depends on how intense you want to get, but I liked the first two suggestions of Katherine Gray at Dish To Dirt, namely:

1. Eat local whenever possible
2. If I cannot eat local, buy from a local company

In addition, I pledge to:

3. Preserve as much as I can
4. Limit driving, and work on integrating transportation alternatives into our lives
5. Start caring where things are made and see if I can find manufactured items 1) locally, 2) in California, 3) in the Western US, and/or 4) in the US, before going overseas.
6. Try to not sound holier-than-thou when talking about eating local

One week into the challenge, this is where I stand
-- On Monday, I spent 4 hours in the stupifying heat, canning local tomatoes for winter soups and stews. Not as hard as it sounds, although I occasionally feel as though I am channeling my grandmother, or the author of Little Heathens.

- On Tuesday, the kids and I rode our bikes to school. Fortunately, we live around the corner, so the ride is not that tedious. Thank goodness the challenge is in September and not January, I find myself to be a fair weather cyclist.

- On Wednesday, I went to Whole Foods for 5 items. It took me nearly 30 minutes to shop because I was reading the labels so thoroughly. Fortunately, the chicken was local, from Petaluma. So was the goat cheese, from the coast. But the organic peas had a confusing pedigree and I had to buy soy butter from Illinois for lunches, since peanuts are not allowed at my kids' school. And I needed nonfat milk - the local stuff was twice as expensive as the house brand, but hey, at least it comes in a shwanky, retro glass bottle. That should justify the additional $4 a gallon.

- On Thursday, I took a break. All this sourcing has me exhausted and fortunately, we had enough leftovers for dinner!

- thank goodness for Friday - we get most of our veggies through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Two Small Farms, from Watsonville and Hollister. If I buy nothing else, I can feel very confident that at least today I am doing something right!

So, at the end of our first week of participation, I would say that our results are mixed. Thank goodness the kids are in school (for a good three hours), otherwise I am not sure where I would find the time to source our local food. Join me on the challenge, I would love to hear other folk's stories!

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