Eat Local Challenge begins May 30



New Orleanians curious about the locavore lifestyle can join the annual challenge to eat only locally sourced foods for one month. On May 30, the Eat Local Challenge commences, and participants are encouraged to eat foods grown, raised or caught within 200 miles of New Orleans.

Presented by Eat Local New Orleans, the challenge is designed, in part, to help diners diversify their food options and raise awareness about local producers.

There are several tiers of difficulty for participants to choose, ranging from ultra strict — with no exceptions to the 200-mile rule allowed — to lenient, where two to three days of eating locally can pass. Switching from level to level is allowed, and a little cheating is expected, the event's organizers say. Participants can log their daily meals in a collaborative blog if they wish.

The goal is to "celebrate the many benefits of eating locally, which include cultural preservation, environmental sustainability and economic growth," says Lee Stafford, founder of Eat Local New New Orleans. "Plus, in New Orleans, we get to showcase the many, world-renowned restaurants that are using our rich agricultural and seafood resources in fresh and innovative ways." 

Nutritionist Molly Kimball will provide participants with 30 days' worth of recipes made with all-local ingredients. A series of cooking demonstrations meant to highlight the advantages and health benefits of farm-to-table dining will be led by Touro Infirmary and the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine.

There are classes featuring pickling, wine and cheese making and butchering and a variety of activities will be available to participants such as a wild game cook-off and an insect catching, cooking and tasting event.

Many New Orleans chefs and restaurants are participating in the challenge and will feature dishes that adhere to the 200-mile standard.

Some of the locally sourced menu items include a Louisiana soft-shell crab salad from Cafe Degas, a squash blossom beignet with Creole cream cheese and honey from Coquette and Two Run Farm beef sliders from Fulton Alley served with Covey Rise Farm sweet pickle and onion relish.

Those interested in registering or looking for more information on the challenge can visit the program's website here.

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