Growing Chefs Get Local! Challenge

Inspiration for a week of eating locally...

We can’t think of a better way to start our Fresh Sheet Nutrition blog than to take on a local food challenge. So today, we signed up for the Growing Chefs! Going Local! Challenge. As dietitians, we love a food challenge. And the bonus – it’s a great way to support a fantastic program in our community that gives kids hands-on experience growing and cooking their own food.

In this challenge, we’ve committed to eating local from August 14th to August 20th. The definition of ‘local’ is up to us to decide, although Growing Chefs recommends a 100 Mile diet. Over a cup of coffee (that’s going to have to go!), we pondered the question: what does ‘local’ really mean? We quickly came to the same conclusion that to us, local means eating foods grown close to our home. But we believe that eating local in its truest sense is not just about where it’s grown but also how it’s grown and who grows it. We eat local because we want to connect with the farmers that feed us and help to support and build our community. Local eating is about creating a connection between our environment, our food and the community. With our healthy living and nutrition philosophy, we believe it’s what you do everyday that truly matters. And we definitely don’t believe in feeling guilty about food! So we’ll tackle this challenge with a dash of reality (wild cards allowed) and endeavour to step out of our comfort zone (it’s the whole point of a challenge anyway) with new recipes and meal ideas.

We also want to support local companies as much as possible who may use imported ingredients but do so in a sustainable manner. Supporting and eating local food first is important for our community but it would be impossible for everyone in BC to eat 100 miles all year long. Learning more about how to eat beyond 100 miles sustainably and responsibly is not only a realistic approach but important for a healthy food supply.

And so begins the mouthwatering process of dreaming about what we get to eat! (ahh, we’re such food geeks!). August brings juicy peaches, gorgeous blueberries, crunchy carrots, sweet and savoury corn-on-the-cob. The abundance of fresh produce at this time of year will make our local challenge easy. Crunchy and colourful salads make delicious meals for lunch and dinner. But what to do for a salad dressing with no local olive oil, vinegar or citrus juice? Stay tuned for some tasty ideas. There is of course lots of local milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt to choose from. Heather’s excited about filling up on BC spot prawns. Desiree’s dreaming up tasty meals using farm fresh eggs. And there will be no problem finding local turkey, chicken, beef and even bison.

The tougher local foods are grains, beans, lentils and other veggie proteins like tofu and soybeans. Desiree is a vegetarian and a day doesn’t go by where she doesn’t eat a bean. We know we can get flour from the Flour Peddler but can we also default to locally produced – like Anita’s grains and flours, Rogersflour, Sunrisetofu or Canadian grown lentils and beans? It still fits with our desire to support local companies. We’ll definitely be eating the Bread Affair’s 100 Mile Loaf. Or maybe we make our own sourdough starter and bake up our own fresh bread. The smell will be delectable.

Wow, did we forget that this means no coffee, tea or chocolate?  Well… really, it’s only a week. If we desperately need it, we’ll definitely choose locally produced. What other foods will we miss? Mmmm…Sriracha sauce and almonds says Desiree. Cinnamon whole wheat squares cereal and limes for Heather.

Stay tuned, visit often and join us for scrumptious ways to enjoy the bounty that our region has to offer. We’ll bring you ideas, recipes and more tasty tidbits for the whole month of August.

Want to get local? Take the challenge with us or support Growing Chefs by pledging our campaign.

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