A friend in Chicago invited me to participate in the "Keep It Local" challenge run by Erin Loughlin. Erin started this challenge because she wanted to challenger herself to eat locally and thought it would be fun to have some company while doing so.
Part of Erin's inspiration came from this fact: "If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons, but barrels." Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. (2007) p. 5
We only have to do one local meal a week, but I'm an overachiever and have been doing more than that. Here's a few photos of my local meals so far:
(sausage and bell peppers on sourdough bread, black bean and sausage stew, bison and root vegetable stew.)
Living in California, and being a devoted shopper at my farmer's market, I thought that it'd be easy to find local EVERYTHING. Since starting the challenge, I'm beginning to rethink that. I've realized I don't know where half the farmers at my market come from (although by law, it has to be within the state of California.) But that means the food could be traveling up to 725 miles and, while that's still less than half of the 1500 miles the average American meal travels, it's still not exactly local. With this in mind, I'm going to start paying more attention to where the farmers I buy from are located.
I've decided for the last two weeks of the challenge, my local meal has to be vegan as well since the United Nations has found that almost a fifth of all global warming emissions comes from livestock production.