Welcome to The Local Beet: Chicago
Our mission is to become a valuable resource for eating locally in and around Chicago. Local eating is not about having lunch at the restaurant in your neighborhood. It’s about incorporating locally-grown foods into your diet.
I’ve long been interested in the food choices that people make. When I started EatChicago.net, it was one of the first blogs in Chicago focused specifically on eating in Chicago. My goal was to introduce new tastes to a wider audience in an accessible way. My passion for the tastes of Chicago spilled over into LTHForum.com, Chicago’s top culinary discussion site. I spent years as a moderator and administrator of LTHForum, and I continue to participate in discussions there today.
While I was eating, discussing, and writing about Chicago food, I was learning more about myself and what I truly enjoy to eat. Over time, my omnivorous nature refined itself into an excitement for seasonality and small-batch, locally-produced foods. My wife and I made two trips that solidified my love of regional cuisine: a ten-day road trip through New England and a 16-day tour of Italy. Both places are acutely aware of their local agriculture and they celebrate it on their plates. Since returning from these trips, I’ve made a stronger commitment to incorporate more local foods into my diet.
I do not like the word “locavore”. It denotes vegetarian-style completeness. You cannot have a slice of bacon and still be a vegetarian. But you can have a banana in Chicago and still eat local. Many books, news stories, and websites would have you believe that you have to make a monastic pledge to local food to be called a locavore, and lesser attempts are invalid.
Our approach is less completist and more practical: Use what’s available and make a sincere effort to find it. I believe that if you make small changes over time, those changes will become habits. We think that maintaining new local eating habits for a lifetime is better than making a pledge to eat local for a year and then slowly go back to the old way of doing things.
We don’t want to preach or bully anyone into seeing things our way. We don’t care if you’re a 100% locavore, someone who’s trying, or just casually interested. We simply want to be a good resource and keep the discussion going. If just one person reads this site and is compelled to skip the Chilean grapes at Jewel this summer for a bag of Michigan peaches from a farmer’s market, we’re happy.
Over time we hope to build a site rich with feature stories, blog entries, maps, guides, and more. It’s going to be a long (but delicious) journey full of bountiful summers and long winters but we hope you’ll join us for the ride.
All the best,
Editor In Chief