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August 26, 2013

Challenge on to eat local foods

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a true locavore?

That’s the question posed by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York’s (NOFA-NY) annual Locavore Challenge. The Farming Association has sponsored this event for the past four years, and it’s gaining ground. Whether you are a seasoned locavore or you’re starting your foray into local eating, the Locavore Challenge has something for you.

What is a locavore, exactly? At its simplest, the word defines someone who eats locally grown food whenever possible. How you define “locally grown” is largely a personal decision. When considering where you’d like to purchase your food, you must ask yourself what distance you are willing to encompass and still feel comfortable calling it “local.” Is it 50 miles, 100 miles ...? If you draw a 100-mile radius around your home in, say, Chazy, you are going to include a sizable chunk of New York, but also decent pieces of Vermont and Canada, possibly violating your own rules to stay within New York or even the United States.

There is no concrete definition of local. The bottom line is to go with what works for you and your family. Most locavores procure their food as close to home as possible, expanding in an increasing radius until most of their needs are met. The important thing to remember is that food dollars spent on local farmers will support the local economy, however you define it.

If you visit the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York’s website, www.nofany.org, you’ll find the Locavore Challenge link prominently displayed on the home page. Click through, and you’ll get all the details. There are different levels of challenges, a resource guide, events, dinners and even an essay contest. Since this challenge is sponsored by the NOFA, the focus is naturally on organic food. While organic is a farming method I wholly support, I encourage everyone who is taking this challenge to support the local farms that are important to them.

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