October 1, 2014 marks the beginning of the sixth annual Eat Local Challenge, sponsored by the Community Environmental Council, Edible Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association.
The idea of an Eat Local Challenge is that participants will make a pledge to eat and drink only locally grown or produced foods for a month.
Eating locally is a personal commitment that can be achieved in many ways. Some will choose to eat only foods produced within a 100- or 150-mile radius. Others will choose Santa Barbara County or the tri-county region or even the state of California as their radius. And others will choose to make exceptions about certain items, such as coffee, tea, spices, or foods purchased prior to the beginning of the challenge. The value is in the shared experience of focusing your attention on your food choices for an entire month.
Sign the Eat Local Pledge by midnight on October 15, 2014 to be automatically entered to win a basket bursting with local goodies.
How do I get started?
Just sign the pledge here. We’ll send you some things that will help you stick to your new eating plan.
I’m having trouble finding local [olive oil/butter/some other food item]. Any ideas?
Yes, lots of them!
- Start at the local farmers market. In the Santa Barbara area, you can find a market almost every day of the week.
- You can connect with other Eat Local challengers on Facebook. Ask the group to share some of their favorite growers, vendors and food craftspeople.
- Take the pledge. We will send you some resources that will get you started.
Why should I eat locally?
There are a lot of reasons why eating locally makes sense. Our top three are:
- Locally-grown food tastes better, and is better for you. Nutritional value is at its highest directly after harvest. Buying locally ensures that you get food that is at the peak of flavor and ripeness, as well as nutrient value.
- Local food supports the local economy. By supporting local farmers, growers, restaurants and food craftspeople, you are supporting your neighbors, friends, and keeping money reinvested in your community.
- Local food benefits the environment. On average, most food in your typical grocery store travels over 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate. That is a lot of polluting fossil fuel burned to transport, process and package your food. Compare that to buying produce from a local grower in Goleta, who washes your kale right next to the field from which it was picked and drives it less than 12 miles to you at the farmers market — it is easy to see which creates fewer greenhouse gases.