Taking stock of the Eat Local Challenge

BlogHer Original Post

Although there are already five days under October’s belt, it’s not too late to consider taking part, in small or large ways, in this month’s Eat Local Challenge.

Jen Maiser, who is one of the editors of the Eat Local Challenge website, describes the challenge as follows:

“The traditional Eat Local Challenge is a basic concept: commit to eating only locally grown foods for a period of thirty days. Declare "exceptions" that you will not be eating locally, and try as hard as you can to have everything else come from your local foodshed. "Local" is traditionally a 150-mile distance from your home, but can really be defined as any area near you. Some locavores choose their county, state, or region.”

This year, the challenge will have a thoughtful focus, week by week. This week’s theme (it runs through Friday, October 9) is Taking Stock, or, as Maiser wrote, “We'll take this week to reassess eating locally. Do the old eat local tenets hold up under a 2009 microscope? Where could we be doing better with eating locally? What should this month hold?”

In an entry at 5 Minutes for Going Green, Diana Prichard takes stock of her and her family’s approach to this year’s challenge—they came to it gradually, but are using this year’s challenge as a jolt to their already-changing consumption patterns.

“I don't recall a fundamental shift in perception ever having taken place. Rather, it was a slow and steady evolution that led us to curb our long-distance consumption at the dinner table. It wasn't a conscious decision made, but it did turn out most convenient and achievable that way. I imagine much in the same ways that it would be most achievable for other families to go about it in the same way; slowly integrating local when and where it's most possible.

But there's also something uniquely exhilarating about a sudden dramatic shift in routine, a rush in making a big change and making it stick. That's why this year I'm participating in the Eat Local Challenge, because for as many things we've replaced with local alternatives there are just as many others — most vices, no doubt — that still need replacing. And I'm hoping you'll join me.”

Jennelle of Delicious Potager is another blogger taking part in the challenge, but was already beating herself up a bit on Day 1. I'd argue she has nothing to worry about -- her approach, which includes cleaning out her refrigerator of what was already there, whether it meets her challenge guidelines or not, is an entirely practical approach to the exercise.

“I don't think it makes much sense (especially in this economy) to throw out perfectly good food,” she wrote. And with local milk and beer within a 250-mile radius rather than a 150-mile radius, she decided that would be her personal distance limit for the challenge.

Have you considered taking part in such a challenge? As you take stock of your own eating habits, are there small changes you could make that would bring you closer, geographically, to the food you eat?

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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