Thanks to our friends at Practically Green for sharing this story about two friends (Randi and Janet) choosing an ‘eat local challenge’ in Boise, Idaho! Below is an excerpt from an interview posted on Practically Green’s blog:
Practically Green: How did you ever decide to do this?
Randi: Janet and I had lunch in early December. We got the idea to develop a personal challenge for 2012 and support each other. I’d just completed a class at Northwest Earth Institute called World of Health: Connecting People, Place, and Planet, so I was in a sustainable frame of mind… I wanted to do something to appreciate where food comes from, something that would be healthy for me, my family, and the environment. I was questioning excessive packaging and what really was available from local sources. I wanted to now begin to answer those questions, and better understand what was available organically, locally, especially this time of the year.
Janet: It’s one thing to eat local in Boise during the gardening season – and Randi and I both have vegetable gardens. But in the dead of winter? We decided to try it at an intense level for the month of January…
PG: Any a-Ha moments?
Randi: One tip, set aside time on Sunday afternoon and cook for the week. Potatoes, legumes, hearty soups and stews.
Janet: Before the January challenge, I didn’t really enjoy cooking or planning meals. When we initially discussed the challenge in December, my hands were sweating at the thought of doing this challenge. I knew I needed to develop healthier habits around food, but prioritizing the time and making it happen seemed like a big undertaking. But to my surprise, there are many local options to choose from in Idaho. The transition was much easier than I anticipated and I actually do enjoy planning meals and cooking now. I also find I’m not wasting food (at the end of the week) by adopting easy strategies and investing this time. These are habits I’m carrying forward past January.
Randi: I was amazed at how wonderful this was from a community perspective. Everyone at our local farmer’s markets was so helpful, supportive and interested in what Janet and I were doing. Not only was it eye-opening and fun to discover the variety of delicious local food sources, it was enriching to meet the people behind them all. These connections and relationships will be ongoing. The other thing “that’s next” for me is to learn how to can, freeze, and preserve all the bounty from my husband’s organic garden this summer and fall… so we can enjoy during the winter months next year.
Janet: My family drinks a lot of milk. I calculated: we consume an average of 140 or 150 gallons a year. I recycle the plastic jugs, but one of my goals in doing this challenge is to also reduce the amount I’m recycling and focus on “pre-cycling,” i.e., eliminate the demand on resources before I use them. I’ve transitioned to now local milk bottle exchange and I have completely eliminated the need to recycle the plastic. It was so easy to make the transition and it’s another outcome I’ll continue moving forward too…
Read more on the Practically Green Blog, where you can find tips on eating locally, and see a list of winter foods recipes.