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Summer 2014 Challenge: How LOCAL are you?

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We know what you’re thinking, “Ugh, another argument about who’s local and who’s not!” While you may be tired of that discussion, that’s too bad for you because we have a CHALLENGE…that’s right CHALLENGE (in big letters) for the so-called locals.
And not just any challenge to prove your local-ness, like where you went to high school or what the area code on your cellphone is (see Madame NOLA’s Native's Guide to Being a New Orleanian). Nope, for this challenge, you’re gonna have to put your money where your mouth is with the 2014 New Orleans Eat Local Challenge!
In its fourth year, the New Orleans Eat Local Challenge “was started to raise awareness of the nutritional, economical, environmental, and cultural benefits of eating locally sourced food." For the entire month of June (that's 30 days, y'all), New Orleanians are challenged to eat "only foods grown, caught or raised within a 200-mile radius of New Orleans.”
Did you hear that, New Orleans??? 30 days. Local food. 200-mile radius. A challenge indeed!

First things first. Register for $30/person. With your registration, you will receive the following: "one Eat Local Challenge 2014 t-shirt and tote bag; a 10% discount on locally grown produce at Hollygrove Market & Farm; a 10% discount on local beef, pork, chicken, rabbit, and sausage at Cleaver & Co.; 10% discount on foods bought online from Good Eggs NOLA; full access to the Eat Local Challenge Recipe Forum; an invitation to the Kick Off and Finale Party; and coupons and perks from the many generous sponsors."
Now, we understand that eating local food 24/7 for 30 days may seem a little difficult and there may be times where you fall off the wagon, but you can be sure that “any effort to use local products will have a positive effect on your awareness of your food’s origins, the local economy, and the environment.”

So, there are four levels of strictness in the Eat Local Challenge: Ultrastrict, Strict, or Lenient. Should you choose Ultrastrict, you are “limited to consuming products that can be grown, caught or raised within two hundred miles. With the availability of a much greater variety of many fruits and vegetables and seafood, meats and cheeses, this level, though difficult, is definitely doable.”
At the Strict level, you are allowed three vices, or non-local food items, to eat or drink. With this level, ninety-five percent of your diet will be local while also being able to have other items that are difficult to grow here, such as coffee, chocolate, pineapple, and others. In addition, three of your meals each week can “be completely unregulated and off the wagon,” allowing for eating out at restaurants and parties where it may be harder to find local foods.

At the Lenient level, you're allowed up to six non-local food items to eat or drink and up to six meals a week off the wagon. “To keep your diet varied, you can change which foods will be your six non-local food item indulgences each week. Even at this level, if you are limiting the rest of your meals for the month of June and recognizing what foods are from this area, you are still a rock star!”
And last, but not least, there is the Ultra Lenient level for those of you who are looking to ease into the challenge with two or three days max of local foods. 
To help you on your quest for local food, there are thirty restaurants, including the High Hat Cafe, Theo's Neighborhood Pizza, and Domenica, who have committed to having a local dish available for the entire challenge. In addition, farmers markets throughout the city, as well as Rouses Supermarkets and the New Orleans Food Co-op will be excellent sources for local food items from seafood and dairy to fruits and vegetables. Throughout the challenge, there will be recipe-swapping, classes, workshops, and tours where you’ll be able to meet an incredible group of individuals who are on the same mission as you!
All right LOCALS, what are you waiting on??? If you’re as local as you think you are, show us! As they say, "You are what you eat!"
For more information about the Eat Local Challenge, please visit the website, Facebook, and Twitter.

WHAT: Eat Local Challenge 2014
WHEN: June 1 – June 30


Last modified on Tuesday, 27 May 2014
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