The month-long Eat Local Challenge (www.nolalocavore.org) is in its second week, and upcoming events include foraging expeditions, bicyle rides to urban gardens and more.
The annual event challenges participants to eat only foods and ingredients produced or raised within a 200-mile radius of the city. This year's focus on indigenous plant and animal species is meant to educate locals about some of the lesser-known foods available to them, some of which can be found in their backyards.
"These are things that people usually just don't think about eating because they would never see it at the grocery store," says Eat Local New Orleans founder Lee Stafford. "We are spotlighting wild edibles, wild game and wild plants; it's inspired by a movement that is going on all over the United States."
Here are some of this year's events:
• Wild edibles rooftop dinner party. Purslane, persimmons, hickory nuts and paw paws are some of the locally grown ingredients guests can expect to find at the June 26 wild edibles party on the rooftop of the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center. (1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504-352-1150; www.zeitgeistnola.org). Chef Ryan Hughes of Purloo will cook a meal composed of 90 percent Louisiana ingredients. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• Wild edibles talk and New Orleans City Park foraging expedition. On June 19, Colorado State University botanist Charles Allen will talk to guests at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504-267-7490; www.southernfood.org) about edible plants found in the Gulf South. The next morning, Allen leads an expedition through Couturie Forest in City Park where participants can forage for edible plants and mushrooms. A similar expedition will take place at 5 p.m. that day in Audubon Park. The cost is $3 for Eat Local participants and $8 general admission.
• Chicken raising workshop. Learn how to raise chickens and build a chicken coop at this June 14 workshop at Press Street Gardens (7 Press St., 504-940-2914; www.pressstreetgardens.com) at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Local gardener and chicken keeper Margee Green will sell several chicks at the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Beekeeping workshop: On June 20, beekeeper Jerry Burg will discuss raising bees and help participants plan their own apiaries. Burg will give free presentations at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Crescent City Farmers Market (700 Magazine St.; www.crescentcityfarmersmarket.org)
• Urban farm bike tours. In collaboration with NOLA Social Ride (www.nolasocialride.org), the Eat Local organizers have planned several bike rides to urban farms and community gardens. Participants will meet at the Zeitgeist on June 13 and 27 and ride to community gardens across the city.
The Eat Local Challenge ends June 30. A complete list of events is available on the website.