The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Localvore Challenge: Day 1

By Lisa Shames in Food on Sep 11, 2007 2:45PM

rsz_IMG_1751.jpgYesterday was full of firsts: we cooked breakfast and lunch at the same time (brown bagging), went to Whole Foods and didn’t have even one tiny free sample, and managed to pass the entire day eating only local food minus “exceptions” (see below). And we're craving chocolate, which isn’t any big news, except that this is only day one of Green City Market’s Localvore Challenge, and we have six more to go.

If you’re haven’t heard of it, the Chicago Localvore Challenge asks people to consume foods grown or made entirely of ingredients from Illinois and its border states, plus Michigan, for a week. The idea being that not only do these products taste better and are better for you, but also they help support local farmers and create less pollution since the distance the food has to travel to get to your plate is reduced. Following a localvore diet isn’t anything new — check out Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which chronicles her family’s yearlong adventure of eating locally; Plenty, in which a similar task was undertaken by a Canadian couple; and Michael Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dilemma — but it does seem to be gaining momentum in Chicago or at least that’s the hope of the organizers of the Challenge.

After deciding that our exceptions would be coffee, salt and olive oil, we prepared for the week-long event with a trip to the Green City Market on Saturday, where we quickly realized we're going to be spending a lot of time this week not only preparing food — while we write about food we're a novice cook — but thinking about food, too. Not only what we can have but also what we can’t (why is it that we always want what we can’t have?). But that’s the point really, to be more aware of the footprints our food purchases create, decide which ones we need and which ones we’d be better off without. But in the meantime, if anyone knows of a local chocolate producer, we're all ears.

(Photo: Potatoes from Nichols Farm with basil and olive oil)

To be continued….