Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Eat Local Challenge

Over at the Eat Local Challenge is an incredible resource, a gathering 'round the table if you will, of people from all walks of life who have committed themselves to eating mainly local foods during the month of September. The month in which the Eat Local Challenge falls varies from year to year; 2007 just happened to get September, a wonderful time of year for local food in my area.

I can tell you that my garden is loaded with beefsteak, heirloom, cherry and grape tomatoes; broccoli; rosemary, basil and oregano; bell peppers; and even the occasional cucumber. I observed the ELC the other night at my sister's house, where everyone gathered for a late-summer feast of boiled locally grown corn on the cob, grilled locally raised free-range chicken and a salad consisting of organic veggies - including produce from my garden, picked (or plucked) within an hour of dinner. Even with a dollop of chunky bleu cheese dressing, the signature tang of fresh oregano and basil asserted themselves and made their presence known. Such is the beauty, the power, of fresh herbs!

On a related note: I heard of a local movement earlier this summer to collect five-gallon plastic buckets for use as microgardens, in which urban residents could grow their own tomato (or any other, really) plants as an alternative to a traditional garden. What a great idea! Instead of throwing them out, buckets can be used to help inner city dwellers learn the joys of growing and enjoying their own food. Folks who otherwise wouldn't have the space for a big garden can fill their buckets with earth, buy a couple of seedlings and plant them. Just as my garden helps me relax while easing my weekly grocery bills, a bucket garden can do the same for people with little space. And you don't get much more local than a bucket out on the fire escape or patio.

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