Regulars and Shorts

How Local is Your Diet? Take the 10th Annual Eat Local challenge

By Katherine Pioli

It’s possible your tomatoes are better traveled than you are. Have you ever asked where they came from? Chances are, if you’re buying that Early Girl outside the months of summer it’s coming from Florida. It could also be coming from China, India, Spain, Egypt or Turkey, five of the top tomato producing countries outside of the U.S. But for the next few days, to celebrate Utah’s Eat Local Week, and maybe for the rest of the warm months, try finding one that’s grown right here in Utah. It’s easy, really.

Acceptinghis statewide locavore challenge is a great opportunity to come to grips with your feelings about agribusiness and learn all about eating local. Here’s why you might consider taking this challenge:

  • You will be supporting your neighbors—the money you spend on local products will have a direct positive affect your community.
  • Eating local brings small farmers back from the brink of extinction.
  • You will shrink your carbon footprint.
  • You will get more in touch with the seasons.

If you already eat this way every day, or if you’ve been looking for a way to start, the 10th annual Eat Local Challenge is a great way to share the experience with your community.

Check out the events.

Learn about Utah CSAs.

Meet the farmers and ranchers.

Sample locally made jams and wines from locally grown fruits.

Pledge your commitment to the cause.

Party, eat, drink. Participate!!

When you make the week-long Eat Local pledge, no one is checking in on you. You’re on the honor system. So pick the level that you’re most likely to stick with:

Hardcore: Only foods grown, raised and produced within Utah’s boundaries are allowed at this level. Some of your favorite foods you’ll have to go without: bananas, blueberries, Doritos, Sierra Nevada beer, lime margaritas, coffee, safflower oil, balsamic vinegar. Some foods you’ll be able to keep on your plate: raspberries, apples, yogurt, local pork and chicken eggs, Pop Art popcorn, Epic lager. Definitely not a starvation diet.

Easy Does It: Stick to local products for your main food groups. There are numerous options for buying Utah-raised eggs, meat, dairy, vegetables and fruit. Try the farmers markets or make friends with that neighbor who keeps chickens.

DIY: For the newbies, eating local can be a paradigm shift in the kitchen. Go at your own pace, set your own standards. Try to have one meal a day that’s all local.

But the best part of Eat Local Week happens outside of your house at parties and events where you can meet and mingle with people as food-crazy (or maybe just curious) as yourself. You’ll find something social to do each day of the challenge including:

signup and kickoff at the Grateful Tomato Garden’s annual tomato sandwich party

burgers & movie night

local food tastings

cooking demonstrations

a quick-pickle how to

local food & art show

the rooftop finale party!

If you want to go out to eat this week, look up the restaurants participating in Wasatch Community Gardens’ “Tomato Days,” and ask for their special tomato-themed menu.

Also, check out restaurants competing in Salt Lake Magazine’s ‘farm-to-glass’ cocktail contest. You get to vote on the best concoction.

There’s also the FoodQuest, a gastronomic “scavenger hunt” with food-related challenges to complete throughout the week with prizes for the winners. Details for all of this are available at u

Eat Local Week 2016 @ various

locations, Sept. 10-17. See CATALYST Magazine, September 2016, for details and more ideas.


This article was originally published on August 1, 2016.