Local eaters, start your engines: the Localvore Challenge is back at the Green City Market. Think you can go two weeks only eating products from Illinois and its surrounding states, plus Michigan? We participated in the Localvore Challenge last year, back when it was only one week of all-local eating (with the exception of a few staples like salt, sugar, spices, coffee, tea and olive oil). Unfortunately, we didn't make it the whole week thanks to some weekend traveling, but it was an eye-opening experience nonetheless.
The biggest impact of the challenge for us? The time. We had no idea the time it would take to shop for all of our local ingredients, and how much more quickly than usual our weekly vegetable supply would dwindle. We found ourselves shopping for ingredients at least once a day, sometimes more. And there were a couple of late nights spent baking loaves of local bread so we'd have some to eat the next day.
At least one local site has questioned the merits of the Localvore Challenge, wondering if short-term local eating events are really the answer, instead of long-term efforts to make every day local choices.
One thing we can say for the Localvore Challenge: one year later, the lessons learned are still with us. Sure, we're not eating 100 percent local – not even close – but we are making more informed decisions and seeking out local goods whenever we can.
Also: localvore or locavore? (To-may-to, to-mah-to?)
Related: Oxford Word of the Year: Locavore
(Image: Joanna Miller)