Local Bite Challenge (An Introduction)

Local Bite Challenge (An Introduction)

We live in a time that allows us to ship exotic items from all corners of the earth to our local grocery stores and sometimes even to our doorstep.  While this is convenient, fun and delicious, it hasn’t always been this way.  For thousands of years, we were limited to eating the items that could be sourced locally.  Not only was this more sustainable and kinder to the environment than our current practices, but it also made us incredibly reliant on our ourselves and our small communities.

Did you know that food travels an average of

1500 miles from farm to plate?

Given our current conveniences, habits and dietary “necessities”, it is nearly impossible to assume that we might quickly change from a global diet to a local diet, but small changes can affect great change for the health of our bodies, our local economy and our environment at large.  So, how might one change their habits to embrace a locally sourced diet?  By diving right in!

I am very happy to announce that from April 12th to July 21st,
my Partner and I will, for 100 Days, eat local foods sourced from as close
to our home as possible within a budget of $100 per week.

We will set our first local foods radius at anything sourced from
within 100 miles of Santa Fe.  Our second radius will include anything
sourced from within the state of New Mexico. 

Yes, 100 days, 100 miles, $100 a week.  This should definitely be a challenge!
And guess what?  We want you to participate with us!

How can you participate?

Join our Local Bite Challenge by first deciding how you define “local” and how intensive you want to be with your challenge.   Think about the following questions as you access your options:

  • What is your definition of “local”?
  • Will you set distance parameters for yourself or learn and adapt as you go?
  • Do you want to participate for all 100 days or for a shorter period of time?
  • Do you want to give yourself a set budget or just wing it?
  • Will you allow yourself exceptions?  Maybe you cannot source flour “locally”, but you can bake your own bread!

Not everyone can or will want to undertake this challenge in the same way we are and that’s perfect! Anything you want to do to take a step in the “local” direction is welcome and wonderful!  Are you coming from an environmental perspective, looking at eating local for nutritional reasons or interested in building local food systems from an economic or preparedness point of view? Sweet! The point is to get us all thinking about eating local and acting local, in whatever ways stretch us beyond our current comfort zones. Think about it, then leave a comment on this post letting us know how you’ll participate!

How else can you participate?

  • Join the Local Bite Facebook Group for ideas, recipes and a community of like-minded people trying their hand at local eating, too!
  • Participate in each the weekly Mini Local Bite Challenges that will be posted here on the blog every Monday as well as in the Local Bite Facebook Group. The first Mini Challenge will go live on April 14th.
  • Join us for the Local Bite Food Independence Potluck this summer on July 4th.
  • Participate in our Local Bite Giveaway which will go live on April 12th and will run the entirety of the 100 day challenge.  This is a phenomenal giveaway which is being co-hosted with some of my very favorite bloggers!  Trust me, this giveaway is not to be missed!
  • Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and help spread the Local Bite word via social media using the hashtag #localbite 
  • Follow my Local Bite Pinterest Page for seasonal, local meals ideas and inspirations.
  • Spread the word!  My hope is to get as many people as possible excited about eating locally :-)

Personal Stumbling Blocks and Possible Exceptions?

We do not doubt that we will face challenges with this challenge ;-)  Given that we currently eat local foods only every once in a while with the exception of the foods we grow ourselves, we will be learning (and tracking our learnings in this space) where to source all of our food items locally and how to do without certain items that we have, before now, deemed necessary in our lives.

We acknowledge that not everything we might “need” can be sourced locally, but are going to do our absolute best to come up with alternatives that can be sourced from within the state of New Mexico.  For example, black tea and certain spices are not available from within our state.  Additionally, oils (like olive oil) are not produced here.  We will do our best to find alternatives or simply to hold out until the end of the challenge to replenish our stores.  Who knows, maybe it won’t be such a loss after all?! However, if we do purchase something that is not local, I will absolutely report it here.

So, what can you expect in this space throughout the challenge?

  • Detailed reports about our purchases and, later in the challenge, our own harvests
  • Weekly meal plans and recipes
  • Guest posts from other bloggers and participating community members
  • Weekly Mini Challenges with inspirations and ideas
  • Introductions and interviews with local farmers as well as business owners who place importance on sourcing as many of the items on their menus as possible locally
  • Honest weekly reflections on how we’re doing, what’s working, what’s not, what we love about eating local as well as what we don’t love about it

There you have it!  What do you think?  Care to join us for 100 days of local eating?
I sure hope so!   P
lease leave a comment on this post letting me know how you’ll be participating, then mark your calendars for our kick off on Saturday, April 12th! This is going to be a ton of fun!

xoxo,
M

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Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

41 Comments

    1. Bee Girl

      Remember that you can create a local eating challenge that works for your family, not follow what we’re trying to do :-) Even if you do one or two of the mini weekly challenges, you’re still taking positive steps! let me know if I can help in any way!

  1. Pilar

    Sounds like a fun challenge but I can’t help but think of the many, many, many people and families I know (myself included) that do not have a budget of $100/week for groceries. Eating local is of course healthier for ourselves and our precious madrecita tierra, but until it is accessible to all those who are in most need of it, then our problems with the food system aren’t being fully addressed!

    1. Bee Girl

      Hi Pilar, thanks for chiming in. I completely agree that local produce and products can be cost prohibitive for many individuals and families. I find this fact to be quite dis-heartening and hope that we can work towards better, more people-friendly food systems. This change won’t happen overnight, but instead, one step at a time. My intention with this challenge is not to exclude any one, but to show everyone that eating local is possible when looked at from a variety of perspectives. Each person participating can choose how they participate and set their own parameters. A person who plants spinach in a pot on their porch for the first time ever, harvests it and eats it is eating locally! That one single step is positive and can affect immense change in that person’s life.

      I have an idea for you, but I will message you on Facebook about it :)

    1. Bee Girl

      lol…I picked mid-April so it would be a good challenge for us that would end mid-July when local items are more readily available. So, start off rough and end with a bang :) that’s the hope at least! But since everyone who participates gets to pick their parameters within the time period, no one else has to be as intensive as us, which will hopefully make for a better experience for everyone as well as a good learning!

  2. Caitlin Patton Rosenberg

    This is a wonderful idea and I hope a lot of people participate in whatever way they can! My husband and I have been working on eating more locally for the last couple of years and it has really transformed our lives for the better. We have not needed to buy any food from a regular grocery store in a very long time – in fact, I think the last time we purchased any food item in a grocery store was last summer when we had an insatiable craving for ice cream. We bought some commercial ice cream and really regretted it!
    Caitlin Patton Rosenberg recently posted…Grapevines and garden fencesMy Profile

    1. Bee Girl

      Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and encouragement! We are looking forward to this challenge and also recognize that it will probably be life changing in many ways that we cannot even wrap our heads around yet! I do hope you’ll participate with us on some level :)

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  4. Marie

    If you haven’t read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” I highly recommend it. She and her family embarked on a similar endeavor for a year and she wrote about their experiences. It’s highly entertaining and enlightening. She and Michael Pollan have had a huge influence on me. I live in the Northeast, so it’s a bit more challenging to source food locally now. I can’t wait until my CSA begins at the end of May! Check out localharvest.org. It’s a great resource to help you find local food sources. One thing I have really come to respect and appreciate is the fact that for every season, there is a food. I’ve come to look forward to lettuce in May, strawberries in June, peaches in July, tomatoes in August, apples in September, etc….. Once you’ve tasted something that’s fresh, local and in season, it’s hard to even enjoy them out of season the rest of the year.
    I look forward to following your progress. Any efforts we can make are a step in the right direction. Good luck!

    1. Bee Girl

      Marie, thank you so much for your comment! I have read A,V,M…*loved it and found it so very inspiring! Funny thing? The giveaway I’ve pulled together includes a gift certificate to Local Harvest and we have been a part of a local-ish CSA in the past ( though aren’t now and won’t be for the challenge :) SO, great minds think alike!!!

      I can’t agree with you more though about the taste of fresh, in season, local foods! There really is no comparison!

      I do hope you’ll participate in some way :) this should be a lot of fun!

  5. Angela

    I’m in Marie’s boat living in the northeast but I’m certainly going to try! If anything making a little more from scratch will be a good start and May will bring on the markets :) I think my only cheat as far as warmer months will be banana’s… I do love my banana’s. :)

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