Did you know that the average ingredient in a North American meal travels over 1,500 miles to reach your plate?
It’s true. Now imagine the impact that distance has upon the freshness of the food we’re eating, the amount of fuel that’s used to transport that food, and the farms which grow that food.
Does it make you think?
If you’re like many Americans, you’re becoming more aware of the impact your buying decisions have on your health, the economy, and the earth.
During the Milwaukee Eat Local Challenge, which takes place September 1 -15th, you are invited to spend two weeks focusing on eating more locally, and thereby comparing the taste and price of locally grown food to products grown far away. The point of the Eat Local Challenge is to challenge yourself — to set aside the time to discover new local sources for every day foods, to determine how your values align with local eating, and give yourself the opportunity to experiment.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Set your own rules and determine your own goals. The Eat Local Challenge is individual and not a contest.
- Define for yourself what “local” means. Will you commit to eating more foods within a 100-mile radius? Foods grown or produced in Wisconsin? Or in the Midwest region?
- Determine how much of the food you will eat during the challenge will be local. One meal a day? 50% of all your food? Most meals for the two weeks of the Eat Local Challenge?
- Decide what your exemptions will be during the Challenge. What will you eat that isn’t grown anywhere within your local area? (For example, you might decide to buy only fair trade coffee, or buy your spices from a locally owned business.)
- Create a game plan for meals that you won’t be eating at home. Consider supporting locally owned restaurants that have made a commitment to sourcing locally grown products. As a start, check out the restaurant list at Eat Local Milwaukee:http://eatlocalmilwaukee.org/restaurants.html
- Consider opportunities to educate yourself about local food. Explore opportunities for sourcing directly from local farms, take a canning class, or consider freezing local produce for the winter.
- Think about changes you might want to make on a long-term basis. Will you commit to buying a certain percentage of your groceries from local sources? Or make an effort to seek out new local products over the course of the year?
Want to learn more about navigating the world of local eating? Consider attending the 6th Annual Eat Local Resource Fair from 11am – 3pm on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at the Urban Ecology Center. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit eatlocalmilwaukee.org.