The Localvore Challenge

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September 10, 2008 at 8:05 am

Rob Gardner

Let’s take a Get Smart approach to the start of this post.  Are you one of the millions of Chicagoans starting the Localvore Challenge today; how ’bout the thousands of people signing up?  OK, have you decided to forgo “vine-ripened” tomatoes and asparagus for the week?  Michael and I have slightly different thoughts on the Challenge.  More than he, I encourage you to try.  Still, I am not taking the challenge myself.   I mean, obviously, I am not trying to change my eating for the next two weeks.  My wife and I, however, were talking yesterday about where would like to go in our localism.  We always see room for improvements.

As I mentioned in the Localvore Challenge thread, my family’s percentage of local food we eat has increased since we began the eat local path.  Especially, we have been able to eat more local meat.  Still, my first response to my wife when we talked about the Challenge was to say, I am very happy with our current approach.  I have no foreseeable plans to ditch any of the non-local products currently polluting my body, the coffee I drink each day, the olive oil I use, the block of Trader Joe’s chocolate I have been nibbling away at each night.  My wife reminded me that we might find room for improvement.  Typically, she is right.

She has been on the forefront of improving our local through her canning, because up until this year we were not using local canned tomatoes for sauces and other recipes, nor were we using local tomato paste.  That’s a-changin’.  She has also been aggressive in finding local grains to use in her baking.  She has ideas on being more local. 

She would like to identify more local cooking oils.  I said how much do we cook that does not use olive oil.  She gave the example that we could dress our salads with mixture of local oils, presumably something like corn, grapeseed or sunflower, with stronger oils like walnut or olive.

She said why could we not sift out the sugar made from Michigan beets from the sugar made from far-off cane.  When I tried to move on by saying maybe we could bake more, she threw it back at me.  I was big on the things she could do.  What about my task of contacting the sugar companies.  She thinks we can eat more local sugar.  I need to find how.

And those flours, she is on the lookout for more.  She is still frustrated with her lack of local all purpose flour.  She knows we will find it.

We are satisfied as a Local Family in our dining habits.  We don’t need no stinking challenge to make us local.  On the other hand, after nearly four years of eating local, we strive to find more local foods for our diet.

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One Comment

  1. [...] years ago, when Michael and I debated locavore challenges, I also challenged myself to be a better locavore.  Did we have to use grocery store canned tomatoes?  Why did we not use Michigan sugar beet [...]

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