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Chefs and citizens go local

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

Eating locally grown food in season can be quite a bargain; local peaches right now, for example, typically cost far less (and taste far better) than peaches imported from thousands of miles away in colder times. But it's hard to shake the idea that buying locally means spending large.

In its recent Cheap Eats issue, New York magazine challenged three New York City chefs to make a thrifty, three-course meal with local foods. 

All of the chefs' budgets came in under $22 apiece, and not one of the chefs sourced their meal from more than 120 miles away. Newly crowned Cheapavore Chef Bill Telepan won the contest with a menu featuring corn soup with scallions and roasted corn, a zucchini and tomato frittata with wild arugula and Gold Nugget potatoes, and a gooseberry shortcake dessert. The grand total: $19.24.

Cities across the nation are hosting similar challenges for their citizens. Portland’s popular Eat Local Challenge website gives an overview of why and how to eat local, then goes one step further by providing a handy scorecard for tracking goals and results. 

Meanwhile, the Locavores in San Francisco will host a similar challenge in September, asking participants to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100-mile radius of the city for an entire month. And a challenge in Ohio provides its own pledge card. 

If there isn’t a community challenge in your town, you can always use these scorecards and websites as templates to create your own. Happy eating!

*Also on Culinate: An article about previous eating-local challenges, as well as a story about locavores.