#FoodforChange – Eat Local

The average meal travels 1,200 kilometres from farm to plate. Does that really represent how far you live from your local agricultural areas and its farmers? As the kilometres traveled by your food go up, so does the processing required factors to keep it fresh. Refrigeration and packaging become major factors as food travels longer and takes longer to reach your table. You can have an immediate impact on the amount of CO2 that your food is responsible for producing by reducing the distance that it travels, plus doing so is easy, healthy, and fun.  For the Food for Change challenge we have prepared a few tips and tricks to help you cut the transport and travel emissions out of your diet: Eat Local – Eat Food for Change

1. Hug a farmer: Find your local farmer’s market and make the most of fresh and seasonal fruit and veggies at excellent prices. Building relationships with local farmers and producers will help you learn about the intricacies and subtle differences between fruit and vegetable varieties and types, as well as how to make the most out of them. You’ll find yourself waiting anxiously for market day so that you can stock up.
2. More local than local: Beat the crowds and be first in line at your home market! You don’t need to have a green thumb, or much space, to grow some lovely herbs like basil or rosemary, which you already use in countless dishes. Once you have mastered the staples, move on to different varieties, or if you have a bit more space, to a more complete garden. You will soon have so much that you find yourself giving away your herbs and veggies to grateful friends and family to use up!

© Jakub Kapusnak

3. We can pickle that! Get into the wonderful world of pickling, fermenting, and canning! Rather than buying out of season imported ingredients from the other side of the world, plan ahead with the produce that you can while it is in season. Preserve your favorite summer fruits to enjoy all year round, as they are, in vinegar or oil, or in a sauce. Create exciting new flavors from simple veggies, by unlocking the secrets of fermentation, or be a total hipster and make a strange colored soup out of anything you can find and then call it Kombucha!

© Giuseppe Cucco

4. Shoppers can be choosers: The good of eating local does not mitigate the negative impact of unsustainable agriculture, when eating local, you still need to choose foods that are produced in ways that respect the environment and local biodiversity. Buying directly from farmers greatly improves your chances of doing so, you can ask them directly about their methods and principles, while small scale production inherently benefits from and tends towards ecological and organic forms of agriculture. But don’t forget: A local pesticide ridden monoculture is still a pesticide ridden monoculture!
5. All you knead: There are plenty of fancy and exciting upgrades, but at their core, pasta and bread dough both come down to a handful of basic pantry ingredients and a lot of folding, rolling, and punching. Baking bread and rolling and making fresh pasta are easy and rewarding, you’ll impress your friends and family and it will help you appreciate food types that we so often take for granted. Start with the basics, then start exploring with, fillings, shapes, and flavors.
6. Step back in time: Before refrigeration, air travel, and globalization, our ancestors lived off what was around them. Dig up an old recipe from your region, full of local ingredients and flavors, and get to work. Local traditional recipes will help you discover the tastes and foods of your area, linked with the climate and territory of the region, and giving you a snapshot of life as it would have been for your ancestors. It’s just like a time machine! … kind of.

© Tom Mesic

Sign up for the Food for Change challenge and commit to eating local, meat free, or zero waste for a week from October 16 – 22. Post an image or video of your progress with the hashtag #FoodforChange, and you could win a trip to Slow Food Nations in the US, to Cheese in Italy or to Brussels for a visit to our Europe office and the European Parliament!

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