Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Joining the National Eat Local Challenge

OK, you can laugh at us now.
We're officially big local eating geeks.

Having done fairly well during the Milwaukee Eat Local Challenge, and having been inspired by all the great people at the Pinehold Gardens pig roast, we've decided to sign up for the national challenge as well! It's one small way we can make a difference for our local economy (and, in these tough times, I think it matters more than ever). And, it's also a small way that we can move toward building a world where local food is available to EVERYONE -- regardless of station or income.

As part of our pledge, we've been asked to make a statement of participation. So, we sat down and thought about some of our goals.

1. What is your definition of local?
We're going to continue with our working definition of local/regional -- meaning that we'll concentrate our eating on products we can procure from the near Midwest (WI, IL, MN, IA, and MI). We'll be looking for sources within 100 miles of our home when possible, shopping at the farmer's market, and looking for mechanisms to extend our local eating into the winter months. And we'll continue eating as locally as possible when traveling.

2. What exemptions will you claim?
(A quick note: if these seem excessive, please see below... we really would like to make this sustainable so that we can eat as locally as possible 365 days of the year)
  • Coffee/tea (beans can't be local, but we will get coffee from local roasters Alterra, Stone Creek... tea from Rishi)
  • Chocolate (again -- will obtain from local distributors (like Omanhene)
  • Spices (but, will obtain from local sources like Penzey's, Spice House ... when we can't get it from the backyard, of course!)
  • Rice (we will be looking for the closest source possible)
  • Wine, olive oil, and select hard-to-find condiments (will be interesting to see what we can find locally)
  • Fish, including sushi for Lo's birthday
  • When eating out, we will try to support businesses that express a commitment to locally produced foods/products.
  • We will not snub friends, neighbors, or acquaintances on account of the challenge.

3. What is your goal for the month?
Having just finished the Milwaukee Challenge at 74% local, we'd love to maintain that same level of commitment. However, a more important goal for us will be making local eating sustainable -- even into the winter months. So, we'll be taking a critical view of what we can do to continue eating locally even after the farmer's markets have closed for the season. We'd also like to figure out how to do this local eating thing... without being self-righteous or preachy. After all, this is a very personal journey for us. It gets at the heart of who we are -- as cooks, and as citizens.

You can watch our local eating on the blog. We'll be sure to share our ups and downs. The goal here isn't to puff ourselves up with pride for a job well done. Rather, we see this as a mechanism for accountability... and a way to share our small victories (as well as our bitter defeats) when it comes to local eating.

Wish us luck!

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  1. I love reading about your adventure, it's so interesting and worth the effort!

  2. You rock!! I totally agree with you and will be here to see how your journey fairs!


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