Eat Local Challenge, Weeks 2 & 3, Obstacles to eating locally

September 1, 2010

My favorite local recipe in the past week has been Woody's chili: horto beans or ground beef, red & green bell peppers, fresh roma tomatoes, garlic, onions, beer and spices.  Actually, no, my most favorite recipe was a local lamb stir fry with a yogurt sauce and mint from our garden that my mom whipped together for us with green beans, kales, and peppers Monday night after work. I didn't know you needed to stew the lamb meat a long time until it was tender. I used the mint sauce leftovers to marinade my extra horto beans for lunch the past two days.

This challenge is raising a few questions in our minds. Woody and I are wondering: Why are there no local grains, especially gluten-free grains like millet, available? The beans and carrots provide some starch but it's not the same as the wholesome support of a regular whole grain in the diet. We really like to have rice or quinoa or millet as a regular hot breakfast, or make a quick lunch with veggies and a vinaigrette on the grain.

Also, what are the obstacles for our local food coop in providing a local fresh vegetable juice option, or a local option at the hot deli bar? We thought of all places in Madison, we might be able to go there for a meal, but found it more difficult. In fact, to eat local means to eat REALLY local, as in, our own kitchen and that's about it (except of course the community potlucks that we haven't made it to, yet). I can understand that maybe a food service like the Coop needs to be able to depend on a larger supply of foods to offer a local option. Is this really true? They certainly offer lots of local produce options to shoppers. This is what sold me on becoming a frequent shopper and member at the coop several years ago. The produce is often as good as the farmer's market and way above any other produce department in any other store in Madison.  So, how about it: can we take the next step to produce that food into meals ready to go?