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Up for the challenge

(article, Kim Carlson)

If, like lots of other people, you’re becoming interested in the simple idea of eating more food from your local area — whether it’s within 25, 100, or 250 miles (all substantially fewer than the average 1,500 miles our food is often said to travel) — you should know that there are a host of websites that can coach you along. 

Two good ones are Local Harvest and Foodroutes, both of which contain ample resources to help you find the food you’re seeking.

The 100 Mile Diet chronicles the eating adventures of two people from Vancouver, B.C., who in spring of 2005 embarked on a one-year commitment to eat in the local foodshed. Apart from adding a few essentials back into their diets after a year — olives, beer, and chocolate — they haven't gone back to their old habits.

Finally, a group blog called The Eat Local Challenge will nudge you along smartly with their occasional challenges. The next one is coming up April 23, and looks intriguing — and, yes, challenging: It's the Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge, in which participants will try to eat locally on the food budget of the average American family. 

So for a whole week, not only do participants work to eat exclusively local foods, they work to stay on budget. 

The engineers of the Penny-Wise Challenge gathered statistics from the Department of Labor and came up with this allocation for the week:

p(list).1 person in the family, one wage earner: $68 a week
2+ persons in the family, one wage earner: $121 a week
2+ persons in the family, 2 wage earners: $144 a week
2+ persons in the family, 3+ wage earners: $184 a week

Check out more nuts and bolts on the challenge. 

Not convinced eating local foods is worth the effort? Here's a Culinate article that explores the phenomenon, and here are 10 reasons why you should consider it. 

Even if you don't take the Penny-Wise Challenge, you might find yourself inspired to eat something new, and it might not break the bank. It might even be delicious.