Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eat Local Challenge

Surprisingly, much of the information I'd expected to pull together related to Honest Weight's Eat Local Challenge turned out to be a bit of a bust. They have disappointingly little on their own website, the Times Union blog is interesting but has the dates for the challenge stated incorrectly in the linked post, and they've listed the national website wrong on the co-op's own Eat Local Challenge pamphlet! I shouldn't be surprised; when I called the co-op for information (because we don't make it down to Albany very often), the person who answered knew remarkably little about it.

So okay. Organization may not be their strongest suit. I don't care; I still love them, they still have the best natural food store I've seen to date, and the Eat Local Challenge is still a great thing to join. You can sign up in their store, those of you who are local, and receive periodic emails with recipes and ideas.

At any rate, Google is my friend, I always say, and I found the Eat Local America site fairly easily, for those who are intrigued but not geographically close to me.

The guidelines to Honest Weight's challenge are intentionally vague, however, and you're encouraged to set your own goals. There's good reason for this - eating is a very personal thing, and even in the height of summer, eating local is quite an adjustment. When you're just starting out, sometimes small steps and a relaxed attitude are the order of the day. Perfectionism will kill your motivation before you even get started.

Some suggested goals, recommended by Honest Weight's pamphlet:

- Spend at least 10% of my weekly food budget on local foods.

- Make 5 meals each week from locally grown and produced foods.

- Buy directly from a local farm or farmer's market as often as possible.

- Choose local foods whenever possible and request local where I shop and dine.

- Patronize local grocers, retailers, and restaurants that feature local food.

- Preserve fresh seasonal foods to enjoy later in the year (freeze, can, dehydrate).

Matt and I are both signed up at the co-op, so hopefully we'll start receiving their emails soon. If anything interesting comes up in them, I'll be sure to share.

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