Eat Local Challenge
Eat Local Challenge
Food that is grown locally is flavorful, requires little energy to transport, and benefits the local community. Bon Appétit is committed to buying local, and to highlight this commitment, has created an annual challenge to eat a lunch that is made completely of ingredients from within a 150 mile radius of the café. This act, while seemingly simple, has far reaching implications. During our seventh annual Eat Local Challenge in late September 2011, our cafés will create delicious meals from locally-sourced ingredients to showcase local flavors.
At Bon Appétit, everything starts with flavor, as a company we are committed to creating food that simply tastes good. Food that is grown locally is fresher and dramatically more flavorful than food that is harvested early so it can be transported great distances. Locally produced food is picked at the height of freshness, often making it to market within 24 hours of being picked, while food from non-local sources may have been in transit for more than 7 days and been warehoused for many months. Have you ever eaten berries straight from the field or picked an apple right off the tree? Wouldn’t you like all your produce to taste like that?
According to the Worldwatch Institute, in the United States, food now travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table, as much as 25 percent farther than two decades ago. That shipping and trucking does incredible damage to the environment in the form of global warming and air pollution. Eating locally also helps reduce the immense amount of non-renewable resources wasted in transporting food. Fuel conservation isn’t only about driving less; it’s also about buying things that don’t travel half-way across the globe.
In addition, local farmers, who often use more sustainable growing practices, act as stewards of the land. By buying from local growers you help support sustainable farming practices that nourish and replenish the local land rather than stripping it. You have the power to ensure that the food you buy is produced in a manner that steers away from pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
The purchases you make can have a profound impact on your community. The family farm is dying and when the family farm dies so too does our agricultural heritage. However, if you eat locally then you are simultaneously investing in your own community and helping to preserve local farmers and artisans ensuring their traditions continue. If you buy local, you are helping to ensure that we can savor these authentic flavors in the future.