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October Challenge: Becoming a Localvore

In September, I pledged to be greener by going paperless. In an effort to kick my paper habit, I downloaded Android apps to manage my shopping lists and balance my checking account (and I used them), I stated a recycling bin for myself and my officemates, I gave a reusable coffee cup to my assistant so she could stop using new paper cups every day, I utilized the Google To-Do list portion of my calendar over sticky notes, and I started a marker board to-do list for my officemates to use. 

Celebrate Local FoodCelebrate Local Food

In October, I am going to undertake a challenge to eat locally. Recently I've been reading Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods by Gary Paul Nabhan. Published in 2002, Coming Home to Eat could very well be considered the grandparent of the localvore movement. Nabham is, without a doubt, an activist, and his book weaves together tales of Nabhan's work in his backyard with the struggles of native cultures to survive in our modern "easy food" culture. Whether he is focusing on the impact of genetically modified crops on butterfly populations, of the commercial shrimping industry on the local Seri culture, or of modern supermarket culture on traditional farm culture, Nabhan's passion for supporting local, sustainable eating practices is apparent. He begins in his own kitchen, stating "I had never noticed how far the foods in my cabinet had traveled in order to have the honor of being eaten by an American," and ends up travelling the country in an effort to speak before the EPA and to meet native tribes and farmers struggling to survive modern American eating habits. 

Throughout the rest of the month, I plan to buy and eat solely local products, though I have yet to define how many miles wide my local radius will be. So far, my challenge is off to an excellent start. I went to Local Harvest Groceries to do my Sunday football viewing shopping and carefully selected beer from a local microbrewery as well as locally made lentil dip and tortillas. At the checkout, I was excited to find I got 10% off each of these items because the store was having a local goods sale.  In case anyone wants to eat out this month, I have already identified three restaurants that specialize in supporting local brewers, winemakers, and farmers. As far as grocery shopping goes, I already shop primarily at my local farmers markets, but I'm going to make an effort to get to know the farmers themselves. Additionally, I am going to meet and support a local butcher who works with farmers whose animals are local and ethically raised. I also plan to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and to attempt to go foraging with a local group. 

Beyond supporting the local economy, eating locally is an important green move. It reduces your carbon footprint (no more shipping spinach from California to DC) and puts information at your fingertips (ask your farmer how he reduces pests on his crops). Maybe you don't have the luxury of living in a major metropolitan area like I do, so you don't have easy access to entire restaurants and stores to meet your localvore needs, but you can still make a difference. Grab a cup of coffee from a local shop instead of that national chain or grab a six-pack from a small brewery. If it's not a national brand and it's sold near you, you're supporting local, even if it wasn't made a few miles down the road. Every dime spent locally makes a difference to both the localvore and the green movement. 

Follow my localvore challenge on Twitter: LizK4G.


Go Liz!

This is so great.  Can't wait to read more about your challenge.

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