Jen over at Life Begins at Thirty brought my attention to the Locavores, and thier August Eat Local Challenge, which started as a site specific event in the San Francisco Bay Area, but has been taken up all over the country, and possibly the world, as the idea has spread over the Internet.
Well, here I am, throwing my gauntlet down into the ring and accepting the challenge. Which is kind of funny, mind you, because I try and eat locally anyway, but what the heck–this will give me an opportunity to get off my duff and actually do some of the things I have been meaning to do with this blog. You know, like interviewing local food producers, investigating the possiblity of making my own cheeses, and doing a bit of late summer canning with some of the wildly abundant produce at the farmer’s market, all of which, of course, will be chronicled here, because apparently, this sort of thing is interesting to other people!
In addition, I will do some reviews on books I have been reading on the subjects of eating locally and sustainably for the past few years and, of course, I will post recipes. And, some more essays on topics related to sustainability and local eating have been percolating in the back of my mind which are along the lines of my last rant, “Meat Comes from Animals….” which appears to have struck a nerve with folks.
But, for now, I am going to set down the guidelines for my own version of the August Eat Local Challenge, which I am setting myself.
Drum roll, please:
I will attempt to eat as much locally produced food as possible during the month of August. I will shoot for one complete meal per day being totally local, with any other meals that are eaten locally as a bonus.
I will purchase as much of my meat and vegetables and fruits locally as possible, preferably from the Athens Farmer’s Market.
I will also purchase locally produced food from the local businesses which feature them, such as Big Chimney Bakery, The Village Bakery and Donkey Coffee. I will also purchase locally processed foods at the supermarket, which features an entire short aisle of local foods.
If I cannot get an item through truly local (Athens County, Ohio) sources, I will then attempt to buy Ohio products. Those products which I cannot get produced in Ohio, I will purchase organic or from small producers.
My own personal exceptions to local food are these: coffee, citrus, olives and olive oil, avocadoes and chocolate. In the cases of these items, I will buy as green as I can–organic, free-trade, and as much as possible, from small farmers and producers.
I also will make another exception for Asian ingredients like soy sauce, fish sauce and coconut milk. These things come from Asia, that is where they come from, and that is what I am going to use. I don’t have any issues with eating some imported products, so long as I am eating the bulk of my food, my staple foods–from local sources. Soy sauce never came from Ohio, so I don’t mind buying it from China. Apples, on the other hand, grow just fine here in Ohio, so I will be damned if I will buy them from China.
Do you see the difference?
And, finally, when we eat out, we will patronize local restaurants which feature products from local farmers. Casa Nueva is one such place, but there are others here in Athens.
And every last bit of it, I will record in this blog. If nothing else, maybe it will inspire other folks to get interested in trying the same thing, in small ways or large, in their own lives. I am thrilled to find out that my father-in-law has taken to seeking out farmer’s markets and locally produced meats and vegetables, as have a few of my other readers.
Knowing that I have spread the idea of sustainability a few other people makes me unbelieveably happy. If I can manage to inspire a few more folks along the way, well, then, that is great!
Oh, and while I am thinking of it–that picture of last night’s “breakfast-for-dinner plate”–every last thing on that plate is local, or organic. The bacon is from King Family Farms, the berries from two different farmers at the farmer’s market, the maple syrup is Sticky Pete’s, which is produced right here in Athens County and the eggs are from Bridlewood Acres. The bread is organic and from Crumb’s, a local cooperatively owned bakery. The milk is the only non-local major ingredient–and I used organic.
So far, I have had no luck in finding truly local dairy products, because apparently, no one in Athens county is selling raw milk. (It is against the law to sell raw milk products in Ohio for human consumption. You can drink milk from your own dairy animals, but you may not sell it.)
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