When he presented the Buy Local Challenge resolution last week, Governor O’Malley

MDA Secretary Buddy Hance and Governor O'Malley

noted that maybe the bar should be set a little higher. The Pledge currently reads “I pledge to eat at least one thing from a local farm every day during Buy Local Week!” I agreed with the governor and this year I pledged to eat ONLY local food for a week. On Tuesday, I broke the pledge.

It was easy when pledge week started on Saturday. I had purchased eggs and cheese from Spider Hall Farm and milk and yogurt from Chesapeake’s Bounty. I made two loaves of bread using White Cliff Farm flour. We picked up peaches and corn from Swann Farm at the North Beach Farmer’s Market. My plan was to fix eggs, yogurt and fruit (from the garden) for breakfasts and tomato sandwiches and salads for lunch. Saturday night, we had a neighborhood “local only” dinner, which was awesome (never had grilled peaches before!). Monday was leftovers.
However, on Tuesday morning the local food opportunities thing fell apart. We attended a concert in Northern Virginia and stayed at a hotel for the night. I thought it was a place where I had previously stayed that served local eggs and fruit for breakfast. Not the case. I searched the web for a local restaurant serving breakfast near the hotel but came up empty. Being weak of stomach, I succumbed to an omelet, not locally sourced!

cottage loaf made from local flour

We went to Leesburg (lunch) and Reston (dinner) where I enjoyed locally-sourced foods, but the pledge had been broken. I’ll finish the week, eating mostly local, but not all.
The bottom line though, is that it still isn’t easy to eat local. Most of us buy our groceries at the big chain stores and dine out at places that only purchase food from major distributors who don’t sell locally sourced food. Our local food distribution system still is not strong.

So what do we do after the Challenge is over to keep the local movement going? Here is my top five list:

5. Eat at locally owned restaurants when you can, and ask for locally-sourced food. Local restaurants will be more likely to eventually comply. Encourage restaurants that serve locally-sourced food to advertise that fact! Many don’t bother even though it can create a market advantage.
4. Shop at local grocery stores and ask about what is locally-sourced. They will get the idea.
3. Go to farmers markets and roadside stands whenever you can.
2. Sign up at a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. You help finance the raising of the food and then get to eat it!
1. Grow your own garden. You will love “local” so much you will seek it out for all meals!

Let’s change our local food economy, one meal at a time!