Courtesy David De Lossy/Photodisc/Thinkstock
The NCGA “Eat Local, America!” initiative is hosted by food co-ops across the nation throughout the summer and fall. Each co-op establishes its own challenge rules and special events, all aimed at encouraging participants to embrace the locavore movement.
“Summer is an exciting time of year for co-ops; the bounty and diversity of local foods are at their peak,” Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA, says. “Eat Local, America! gives us a chance to introduce newbies to the local food movement in a fun, engaging way, and also to challenge local food lovers to get creative.”
Here are details of a few of the Eat Local, America! initiatives taking place during peak growing seasons to help you reduce your “fork print.”
New Orleans, La.June 1-30
Participants are encouraged to eat locally throughout the month of June. The challenge is divided into three categories: The Ultra-Strict Rule limits participants to foods and ingredients that were grown within 200 miles of the city; the Bienville Rule allows participants to incorporate dried spices (like pepper) into their diets but all other ingredients should come from local sources; Wild Card allows participants to consume coffee, sugar, chocolate and other non-local ingredients that they feel are essentials but encourages the bulk of their diet to come from locally-sourced foods.
A locavore market on June 11 will help participants honor their commitments by providing opportunities to buy, sell and trade local food items with other participants, including foraged foods produce from backyard gardens and wild game.
Wilmington, N.C.June 1- 30
Participants are encouraged to set their own goals for the challenge, committing between 10 and 100 percent of their diets to local foods for the month of June. In-store displays offer resources, including menus and meal plans, as well as a chart of what fresh foods are in season, to help participants reach their goals.
Each customer who signs up to take part in the Eat Local challenge will be entered to win a basket filled with local food items.
Madison, Wis.September 5-October 2
Wisconsinites are encouraged to take advantage of the fall harvest by signing up for the second annual Eat Local challenge hosted by the Willy Street Co-op.
During the challenge, participants are encouraged eat foods grown or produced within 150 miles of the state capitol building in Madison. Participants can find local foods at the Co-op and local farmers markets as well as community-supported agriculture programs and their own backyards.
The co-op provides sample menus and recipes for dishes made from local ingredients. Throughout the month, store demos and classes will focus on local products.
Willy Street Co-op allows participants to take the challenge for two weeks or the entire month.