When you browse the produce section of a typical grocery store, you’ll find that much of the food we eat is not sourced from local farmers, but typically travels from all corners of the world. It takes a lot of energy to produce fertilizers and pesticides, package and process the food, and then transport and store it. By choosing to eat locally-sourced food you’ll save energy and is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Eat Local Month (October) — which is co-sponsored by CEC, Edible Santa Barbara, the FoodBank of Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Barbara Farmers Market — challenges locals to only consume foods grown or produced within 100 miles of their home.
You can find local foods at Farmers Markets and local grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Lazy Acres, the Isla Vista Food Co-op and others that provide well-marked locally-grown items. And, for some, eating locally can be supplemented by foods from a backyard garden. Follow the steps below for more information.
We want to make local eating easy, so we’re giving away a gift basket with everything you need for a successful Eat Local Month including local pantry items and local produce.
Some of the items include:
Tell us how you would use this basket to take on Eat Local Month. For example, tell us about your radius, who is participating, and how you’re planning to be successful. You have until Wednesday, September 25 to submit your response →
How to participate in ‘Eat Local Month’
Step 1: Define your radius.
Each “eat local” challenge is customized to the challenger. An “eat local radius” can be defined as tightly as a 100 mile radius, or the tri-county region, or as broad as the state of California. Decide what radius will work best for you.
Step 2: Define your exceptions.
Participants in the Eat Local Challenge can also make exceptions for certain products like coffee, tea, and spices. These products can be more difficult to find locally. Some participants have made other exceptions like salt, pepper, and olive oil as well. They also have incorporated trading products with other local growers, non-commercial food producers, and other Eat Local participants. Some also make allowances for eating previously harvested food (i.e. frozen, dehydrated, pickled, or fermented).
Step 3: Eat local.
All participants can go about their lives as usual, making this adjustment to their eating habits, and paying attention to what parts of it are easy, and what parts are – well — a challenge. Some may question the feasibility and practicality, but those who have gone through the challenge before say that doing it in place like Santa Barbara during an abundant time of year makes it easier.
Step 4: Stay connected.
Connect with other Santa Barbara locals on the Eat Local Challenge Facebook page to ask questions, share ideas, and arrange food swaps. Once you get started, share your progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (#EatLocalSB; @CECSB, @EdibleSB on Twiiter; @CEC_SB and @EdibleSB on Instagram).
Marjan Riazi writes for CEC's Powered for Good blog. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Educational Studies.
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