I’ve set the date: July 15 – Aug 15, 2016
Goal: Have my family of four eat only local food for the set period of time. This includes our 8-year-old and 5-year-old.
Why: I want to see if it is possible to still eat from a totally local food shed.
Local is defined for this challenge as within a 200 mile radius.
Exceptions (because for the good of all around me I’m not giving up my coffee):
Coffee, although I am going to try to get it from local roasters or coffee shops, and it should be organic and fair-trade.
Olive oil, salt, store-bought butter (unless I get really ambitious), and chocolate (in very small quantities)
Nothing crazy here. Local food from local producers. If I really can’t find that then it has to come from a locally owned and operated store.
I prefer to make as much of my food organic or as close to it as possible.
I am allowed to use pantry items so I don’t waste food, but I am not allowed to stock up non-local goods for the challenge.
Stay as close to my normal grocery list and menu as possible.
A few hurdles I see for us are that we eat a ton of fruit and we live in an area that doesn’t produce a lot of fruit. Cheese. We can get local goat cheese but no one in my family likes goat cheese so unless I can sweet talk my friend into making me some we’ll be cheese free for that month other than maybe some homemade ricotta.
I don’t think this will be wildly difficult though. For the most part we try to eat locally anyway. I think that eating at work may be the most difficult if there are meals provided but otherwise even this I don’t foresee as a big problem.
Another little twist to this that I’m adding is that I’m going to try to keep track of what this costs us. I am very cost conscious as from 2012-2015 we were on a single income that was paid on a monthly basis. That made budgeting imperative.
What I have so far:
My milk producer. I am part of a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm that also has milk.*Note: raw milk is legal in the state of Nebraska so long as you pick it up from the farm. Check your local laws if you are doing this too. Some states are more lenient and some make raw milk illegal.
Most of my fruits and vegetables will come from my CSA farm. I have a year-long commitment for the vegetables and a milking season commitment for the milk. They also happen to be certified organic.
I have half a hog that was locally raised and butchered and is in my freezer.
I have located three beef producers, at least three egg producers, one person with strawberries and raspberries, and hopefully I can find the family that is rumored to produce flour and cereal grains. I think I found my source for chicken as well.
Most of my herbs will come from my garden and I plan on foraging for some foods like Choke Cherries that I can make pancake syrup out of.
As the challenge progresses I will let you know who my producers are. Most are also fellow farmers’ market people. The season will make things easier. If I were to do this challenge in the early spring or late winter I would have to be canning like crazy now to make it possible. We have a harsh winter season where nothing grows except meat and that is only with supplemental feed.