To get the community engaged and excited about local food, the Eat Local Challenge features the different ways that everyone can take part in to learn more about our rich Ohio agriculture, local farms and food, and just why eating local matters.
The 2012 Eat Local Challenge goes from August 11 to September 8, with weekly giveaways throughout the contest! Get more details about this year’s challenge activities!
Starting August 11, we’ll give away weekly prizes to one of the people who submitted an Eat Local Challenge pledge card. Weekly giveaway winners will be selected on August 18, August 25, and September 1.
Anyone who fills out a pledge card is automatically eligible for the weekly prize drawings, but to be eligible to win one of the grand prizes, you must show us your Eat Local Challenge activity in action!
To enter to win grand prizes, take a picture of one of the challenge activities and share it with us using any of the options below:
- Post it to Facebook and tag @LocalMattersOrg
- Tweet it on Twitter with the hashtag #EatLocalOH
- Email it to us directly at email@example.com.
Why the Challenge?
Eating locally-grown food means living healthier because freshly-picked foods are more rich in nutrients and vitamins. The flavor of these goods is so outstanding that they hardly need any accompaniment; local Ohio tomatoes, peaches, corn, beets, beans, etc. are so different from the standard fare that it’s positively amazing!
Fresh foods are better for our bodies and our families. Making the decision to eat local and healthy will help reduce the prevalence of serious medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity, too.
Eating locally grown food means helping central Ohio’s economy, by supporting the farmers and organizations in our region whose job is to grow and produce local food and make it accessible to all. When we purchase local foods, smaller farms can thrive and generate employment opportunities in agriculture and food processing. An economic analysis of the local food system in Knox County, for example, found that increasing local food sales in restaurants and grocery stores by 10% could support 243 new jobs, increase sales tax collections by $344,000, add $3.9 million to the annual personal income of residents and increase sales by nearly $12.8 million in the county! (extension.org)
Eating locally grown food means fostering community among neighbors,
by recognizing that, with the emergent popularity of farmers markets, community gardening and CSAs in Ohio, we crave deeper connections to our food and the people who grow it. After all, it’s tough to “break bread” with an agribusiness! Sourcing food locally gives us the opportunity to know our food growers and other community members and create strong, productive social bonds with them.
Eating locally grown food means doing our part to protect the environment, by reducing the need to ship, package and transport millions of food items from around the world. Making out-of-season foods available in Ohio year-round (like strawberries or tomatoes in winter) creates steep environmental costs for society. Much of the food we eat travels 1,500+ miles to our plate, consumes scarce resources and tastes bland to boot (morpc.org). In addition to causing pollution and congestion, this system calls for land use policies that favor the large-scale approach that ensures the distance is worthwhile to travel. Local foods systems interrupt this feedback loop and make it possible for small farms to profit on their more sustainably operated land, which saves money, prevents environmental degradation and preserves natural resources from being depleted. It’s a local choice that reduces the world’s carbon footprint.
Eating locally grown food means preserving our culture and safeguarding our biodiversity, by embracing the fact that historically, people ate as many varieties as possible of whatever could be produced nearby and developed rich traditions that incorporated those foods into their culture – even to the point of worship. Today, the foods that dominate Ohio’s supermarkets are more likely to have been selected for their durability on long truck hauls from California or Mexico. What we lose in such a foodscape is the resilience and fascinating diversity of our crops and the joy associated with tasting the fresh tomatoes we’ve been awaiting for months! Eating local connects us to who we are and to the unique flavors of Ohio.