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Your Board

Hi, I'm Your Board

Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of Directors,...
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Your Board

Sounding Board

Sounding Board
By Your Board on August 27, 2014

Lots of people these days are pouring buckets of ice over their heads in support of the ALS Association. It’s kind of awesome when you think about it – just look at how a few fun videos have inspired people around the nation to stand up and commit to supporting a great cause.

But, ALS isn’t the only cause you can take steps to support.

On Saturday, September 6, Outpost Natural Foods will be sponsoring the annual Eat Local Resource Fair – a free event that helps to bring awareness to the benefits and potential for eating locally in Milwaukee. The event is great fun – and it features lots of great local food, as well as useful workshops focused on how to more consciously support the local food shed.

The Resource Fair occurs during the Eat Local Challenge –a yearly initiative that encourages folks to commit to eating as locally as possible for the first two weeks in September.

There are numerous reasons to take the Challenge – some of which are obvious. Outpost suggests the following reasons:

  • You'll be doing your part to help preserve our local food system.
  • You'll experience the amazing flavors of your hometown.
  • It's a fun way to learn where your food comes from.
  • You're already shopping the co-op and farmers markets, why not challenge yourself and share a larger experience of supporting local businesses.
  • It's a great opportunity to grab a pen and write a food journal.

But, there are even more.  Take for example my experience taking my first-ever Eat Local Challenge.

It was September of 2008, and the locavore movement was just gaining momentum here in Milwaukee.

Like many, I was new to the idea of eating locally and all that it entailed. But, I wanted to learn more. So, I took the Milwaukee Eat Local Challenge and pledged to be more conscious about the food I was sourcing and eating during the first two weeks of September.

My husband, Paul, and I went into the challenge pretty confident of the fact that we could make local eating work for two short weeks (You can do anything for a limited period of time, right?). But, we came out realizing that eating locally is WAY more possible than we'd first realized (Hurrah!).

Part of what made eating locally so effortless during the month of September was the vast amount of produce we could obtain from both our backyard garden, our CSA and the Wisconsin farmers at area farmer’s markets.

But, the challenge still required effort.

Making it to the market DID require a bit of sacrifice on our part. Rather than shopping when we liked, and making impulse purchases, we had to be diligent about getting up early on Saturdays so that we didn't miss out on the market's best produce. We also had to pay attention to what was coming out of our backyard garden (and be dedicated to daily harvesting) so that we didn't end up with an overabundance of any one type of produce.

Fortunately, the Challenge also had its rewards:

  1. We met some really great people. For instance, when we conversed with the Amish farmer from whom we bought a package of goat cheese, he got nearly giddy when he told us about how he hand-milked his small herd of goats and produced the cheese with his own two hands. In turn, we got giddy about the fact that we actually got to meet the man who was producing our food!
  2. We got better at meal planning. Rather than eating "on a whim," we based our daily meals on what was fresh, what needed to be used up, and what we could actually obtain from a local source.
  3. We gained confidence. One of the biggest take-aways of the challenge was that we became more confident than ever before that we could dedicate a serious percentage of our purchasing dollars to support local businesses.

And, just in case you’re curious, here’s the bottom line on our local spending for the 2008 Eat Local Challenge – which was both exhilarating and encouraging:

  • The total we spent on groceries during the two-week challenge: $281.70
  • The total we spent on local food during the challenge: $207.56 (74%)

As the Ice Bucket Challenge supporting ALS fades into the distance, maybe it’s time to take a different sort of challenge. Why not take two weeks and devote your dollars to supporting the local economy?

I challenge you to consider it.

By Lori Fredrich,

Outpost Board of Directors

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