National Cooperative Grocers Association and its member food co-ops nationwide are challenging shoppers to put their money where their mouths – and food producers – are, and take the second national Eat Local, America! challenge.
Participants can demonstrate their commitment to eating local food at a variety of levels by signing up at their local retail food co-op or registering online at www.eatlocalamerica.coop. On the Web site, individuals will find tips, tools, recipes and guest blogs on the healthful, social and economic benefits of eating local – as well as a map of the nearest participating co-op.
Seasoned locavores are encouraged to commit to eating four out of five meals from local food – roughly 80 percent of their diets. Those who are just starting out are encouraged to commit to five meals a week made with local foods.
“There are many benefits to eating local food,” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for National Cooperative Grocers Association “It’s good for the economy, because money from each transaction stays in the region. And it connects residents to the people who grow or produce their food, while helping to support family farms.”
“It’s also respectful of the environment because food doesn’t travel as far,” Shrader added. “Plus, local food is more nutritious and simply tastes better, because it's often harvested or processed the same day it arrives at the co-op.”
Although “local” is a buzzword used by many retailers, food co-ops have for years cultivated reciprocal, long-term relationships with local growers and producers. This allows co-ops to offer shoppers a convenient connection to fresh and delicious food of the highest quality.
Dozens of food co-ops coast-to-coast are hosting Eat Local, America! All are members of National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) – a business services cooperative representing retail food co-ops nationwide.
Since peak harvest times vary throughout the nation, challenge durations vary. Most participating co-ops will conduct the challenge based on their region as follows:
Jun 15 – Jul 15: South, Southwest and California
Jul 15 – Aug 15: Plains, Midwest and Northwest
Aug 15 – Sep 15: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley and Upper Midwest
Beginning today, food lovers can learn about participating Eat Local, America! initiatives at www.eatlocalamerica.coop.