Could You Take a Bite Out of the Going Local Challenge?

Going Local Week 2010 Sept. 5-11

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Story Updated: Sep 5, 2010

Local food suppliers are joining forces with state officials for Going Local Week 2010, and they've got a challenge for YOU.

The Going Local Challenge kicks off Sunday, September 5th and lasts until Saturday, September 11th. During that time Hoosiers are being challenged to eat at least one Indiana locally grown or produced food item at each meal.

People can take part by visiting their local farmer's market or co-op and pick up some items grown right here in Northeast Indiana - eggs, cheese, meat, wine, fruits, vegetables, and more.

The goal is to raise awareness about the availability of these items locally. It also aims to infuse more local dollars into the local economy. Sheila O'Rourke is the Assistant General Manager of Three Rivers Co-op and Natural Grocery Store. She says, "I think it's important to support the local economy. Look at where your local dollars are going. You might know a neighbor who your dollars are going to, and I think that feels good."

By buying locally grown food, you're also reducing the carbon footprint because the food doesn't have to be flown or driven as far.

O'Rourke says it would be easy to build entire meals from local food, so just substituting one food item per meal is a reasonable challenge. "It's very possible, and it really shows off what we do have in this state, in this town, and can really make you proud that we're producing really high quality, well-taken care of products that are well grown and cleanly grown. It's great."

Still, there are some complaints that local or organic food is too expensive. O'Rourke says while some organic food is more expensive, much of it is very competitively priced. It just takes smart shopping, she says. And a lot of local food is very affordable because it comes straight from the farmers without the extra costs of shipping, etc.

O'Rourke made a comment most doctors have been making for years. When it comes to your health, it's better to pay now than pay later.

What about the people who say, "I don't have time to cook local, healthy food"? O'Rourke says the time you spend waiting in line at a drive through could be spent cooking something healthy and full of flavor.

She says Three River's Co-op is committed to helping people with those kinds of concerns. There is literature available in the grocery store, recipes placed next to food items on the shelves, and staff members who are always willing to help answer questions.

Numerous state officials are also taking part in Going Local Week. Officials from both the Governors Office and the Indiana Department of Agriculture will be taking part in Going Local events throughout the week.

For more ideas on what you can do to "go local" this week, just click on Going Local Week 2010 under the NewsLinks tab.

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