Our Principled Food Challenge

The Locavore Challenge:

We began our local food blogging when we did a Local Food challenge.  This challenge lasted for one full year, starting June 11th, 2010 to June 11th 2011 and required us to convert to a pretty strict locavore diet.  We successfully pulled through the year, being locavores, sticking to the challenge and also blogging the whole way through. Phew!

Why did we decide to take on this locavore challenge?

Well, we both feel strongly about what the agricultural/environment/health/social consequences of food production can mean for us, the earth, society at large, etc. With this in mind, we have decided to eat by the principles we have set for ourselves this year. By choosing to buy items that follow our principles we are essentially investing in the practices we wish to endorse and encourage. Through our buying power, we hope to contribute some positive changes and change the way we think about our food network.

Here are the details of our challenge:

Our Local Eating Year challenges us to not just eat locally, but eat according to our principles.  This enables us to support the types of food production practices that we’d like to encourage.

Every week we are allowed only 4 ‘slots’ of partially non-principled food.  The rest must consist of food that fulfills all three of our principles:

Principles:

  • Local/Seasonal
  • Sustainability
  • Supports food community/ small businesses

When selecting a food to buy we follow these criteria in terms of allowed amounts:

  • If the food fulfills all three principles, it is unlimited in usage.
  • If the food fulfills two principles, two units fill one slot.
  • If the food fulfill one principles, one unit fills one slot.
  • If the food fulfills zero principles, zero food of that item is allowed.

Some definitions to clarify:

  • What is a ‘slot’ of food? It is the basic measurement or unit that the product is readily bought at.  For instance, one box of cocoa powder, or one bunch of kale, or for bulk items 1lbs.
  • Local– from New England (MA foremost, VT, ME, CT, RI, NH and New York)
  • Seasonal Eating– choosing food during points of time when it grows naturally in our area (i.e. no hydroponic tomatoes in January- even if they’re from Maine!)
  • Sustainability– organic, IPM, chemical free (?), and practices that follow these certification guidelines very closely, but are not actually certified.
  • Supporting Food Community– supporting small businesses, and businesses that contribute to a community and not a corporate conglomerate.  Fair trade counts, as well as direct trade.

Additional Guidelines:

  • Also, if we eat out once, this uses up 2 ‘slots’ of our weekly 4 slot total.
  • If we don’t manage to follow our rules/guidelines for the week- we won’t starve ourselves in punishment.

Here are a few of our posts that relate to the challenge’s progress throughout the year:

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