Eat Locally Part 1
I was reading Cookiecrumb's foodblog, and she was starting in on an Eat Locally Challenge for a week. She decided to keep her budget under $72/person while looking for foods that were grown or raised within 100 miles from her home. $72/person is the Bureau of Labor Statitics average statistic on how much people spend on food per week while eating at home, when there are 2 wage earners. With one wage earner it is about $68/person. This challenge seemed liked it was going to be a bit of work for Cookie, but she does have the access to local and organic foods from the Bay Area, Marin County, and the wine region to the north. How did it turn out for Cookie and Cranky? Well, they ended up spending only $35 per person, with an occassional guest in the house. Cranky said it was so much easier to eat in the food parymid while eating locally, which is a healthy plus.
Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics other spending averages, here is what it says per person per week, if there is 2 wage earners in the household:
$76/person per week of food inside the home
$67/person per week of food outside the home
$10/person per week alcholic beverages
These spending averages should be fairly easy to follow for a household of 2 wage earners. I actually think that eating-in is a bit high, and alcoholic beverages is a bit low in a non-dry county.
When I first read what Cookiecrumb was doing, I thought I just could not do that where I live because we have basically only chain grocery stores and Walmart, which gets their stock from the cheapest parts of the world. How was I going to find locally grown foods for my table? Then I just took a trip out through central and east Tennessee, and all I saw were free range livestock, goats, cows, and horse, and lots of farmland. With all this farmland within 100 miles of my home, why is it so hard for me to find locally grown foods? I did a little research about finding locally raised meats, and this is what I found out. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA report released Feb. 2007, in the year 2006, Tennessee was one of the top 10 cattle producers in the USA. If that is the case, I am interested in finding a way to buy some of the locally grown free range beef for my table, and not that generic Colorado slaughter house meat.
I also went to the Earthday Celebration in the Park, and met 3 local and organic farmers who participate in consumer supported agriculture. These and a few other, I believe, are banding together and starting a booth at the Nashville "Farmer's Market" for 4 hours, 9am-1pm, on Saturday mornings. The "Farmer's Market" has sadly never been a real farmer's market, rather it has been a bunch of vendors selling 2nds and "after market" fruits and veggies that exceeded their shelf lives at the chain grocery stores. I am pleased to hear that real farmers are making a small start to take back the "Farmer's Market" in downtown Nashville.
So, since I met the farmers at earthday, and read Cookiecrumb's entries of eating locally, I have decided I will play along too. I have been spending all my free time trying to figure out where I can get local milk, butter, cheese, and grains. I believe I found milk, the butter and cheese may be difficult, and I am nervous I will not find any grains. Cookie and Cranky made some exemptions to their food list and I think I will too.
1 Try to stay in the budget for 2 people, $152 for in-house food, $134 for outside dining, and $20 for alcohol.
2 Try to only obtain foods raised within 100 miles from the center of Nashville.
Here is my list of exemptions:
1 salt and water, as Cookiecrumb said, these are necessary for life, and should not be restricted. I drink filtered tap water, so I know the source is my local river.
2 coffee and tea, as history has shown that these were worthy for trading with kings and queens, and I am no good in the morning without my fair trade, locally roasted coffee.
3 some spices TBD, as spices have caused wars and colonization because they are so important
4 one whole grain like oats, if I cannot find any locally grown whole grains
Everything else should be locally grown or raised, that means milk, fats and oils, liquor, wine, meats, fruits and veggies are from local growers.
1 Margot Cafe because Margot strives for slow food with local in-house made ingredients
2 any other restaurant which strives for local foods, do you know of any?
What do I want to get out of this challenge?
1 Find sources of locally grown and raised foods to buy from all year round. I want to eat more locally grown foods, but have it obtainable for my hectic lifestyle. If I have to drive to Kingdom Come and back, it won't be sustainable for me.
2 Get decent local eggs from healthy chickens.
3 Prove that organic foods do not have to cost an arm and a leg, like at Wild Oats or Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck)
4 Support quality local farmers
I plan on starting on the next Sunday. I am positive I can find all sorts of great treats to eat that are produced right here in my area!
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Eat Local Challenge
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