Involving your families in the Eat Local Challenge

BlogHer Original Post

This week, the Eat Local Challenge asks participants to look at how to expand the challenge to families.

Week Three (October 17 - 23): Friends and Family

Let's take this week to move eating locally out to our families. Can we convince our kids to take local apples to school instead of out-of-season blueberries? Can we ask our spouses to eat locally this week?

I grew up in a household where my parents raised me to try everything at least once, a strategy that I think led to my becoming an adventurous eater – truth is, I hardly ran across anything I really didn’t like, other than Brussels sprouts (which I now love) and liver. But not every parent espouses that philosophy.

Aviva of The Six O’Clock Scramble asked her readers how they incorporate locavorism into feeding their families. Reader Sarah, who lives in Alaska (but is quick to note that she does not live in Wasilla!) talks about the unique challenges her location creates in terms of her locavorism.

…living in Alaska forces me to think of it all a little differently. There are no roads to Juneau, my home town, only the ocean and the sky are available for shipping… so costs are high. The subsistence lifestyle (hunting, fishing, and gathering) can sustain a family, and does in many of the villages in our state, but is rarely compatible with a full-time job and kids in grade school. But it must be admitted, though we have no local farms or dairies, we live in a region that still has pristine fishing grounds, abundant game, and forest and beach harvests that make international gourmets drool. People pay thousands of dollars to visit what we have right out our back door.

So here are the steps I’m taking to eat more locally:
1) We have crab pots to harvest every few weeks from May-Sept.
2) Fishing with my kids… we don’t catch much yet, but we sure have fun.

Carla Wise on Eat. Drink. Better. talks about the incremental approach she has chosen to eating locally year-round, and the emotional benefit it has for her and her family.

My approach has been incremental. I shop for local and organic first. I pick and freeze fruit in summer, buy lamb and beef from farmers I know, and prowl the farmer’s markets. We have a small garden. But I don’t think I’ll ever voluntarily give up either coffee or avocados. My daughter still eats cheerios and Annie’s pasta.

It’s remarkable, though, how many excellent foods are available from nearby. Eggs, milk, lettuce, broccoli, apples, carrots, and potatoes are for sale much of the year. The growing season brings a succession of wonders, my favorites being strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, and corn. Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where we live, is certainly a rich land, but everywhere, it seems, has something special to offer.

At Gulf Coast Local Food, Angela Jordan talks about one of the highlights of her local market, which didn’t require any effort on her part to sell to her family:

“The satsumas have been great this year, and earlier than last year. My daughter ate about six of them within the first 24 hours.”

What are your strategies for convincing reticent family members to eat locally? Are there special recipes that you turn to, or particular foods that you have located and love to share with your kids and spouse or partner? I’d love to hear some of your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories. She is also documenting her year in photos at 365 in 2009.



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