September is Eat Local Month, and the North Coast Growers’ Association farmers’ markets, in partnership with the North Coast Co-op, challenge you to up your game in eating delicious, fresh, Humboldt-grown food for the annual Eat Local Challenge, which runs from September 2 to September 30. Whether you regularly eat local foods or you are interested in learning more about how to find and cook fresh and local new-to-you ingredients, this Challenge is for you!
The Eat Local Challenge is a great opportunity to support our friends and neighbors who work hard to grow high quality foods for our families while also enjoying the health and flavor benefits of eating the freshest food available.
At your local North Coast Growers’ Association farmers’ markets in Eureka, Arcata and McKinleyville, know that all the produce, meat, eggs, beans and grains come only from farms within Humboldt County (and all are GMO free). Visit the Co-op and look for shelf tags that tell you which products have been processed locally.
Many of us choose to buy local products regularly, but how many of us have made meals cooked entirely with locally grown or raised ingredients? Take a look at the product labels themselves to see if the ingredients were grown locally as well as packaged or processed locally.
Access to quality food should be a right and not a privilege, yet many of us find it hard to fit high quality foods into our tight budgets. In addition to fresh food buying tips, you will find suggestions on eating local foods on a budget when you sign up for the Challenge. Those with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Incentive) EBT cards can use benefits at all Eureka, Arcata and McKinleyville farmers’ markets. The Market Match program is available to help stretch EBT benefits even further. Vouchers for SSI recipients are also available at these farmers’ markets thanks to a generous grant from St. Joseph Health.
To take part in the Challenge, visit your local farmers’ market info booth in Arcata, Eureka, and McKinleyville or the Customer Service desk at either North Coast Co-op location and choose your Challenge level on your pledge card. At all farmers’ markets and on select dates at the Co-op, you will be given an opportunity to spin the prize wheel to win a free mug or t-shirt. Place your pledge card on your fridge or office bulletin board to remind yourself of your goals and share your experience with your family and friends.
The Eat Local Challenge can also be a fun way to jump into all the activities planned for the 10th anniversary of Humboldt’s Local Food Month, including visiting local farms, going to food tastings, and attending workshops and film screenings. More information on Local Food Month can be found at localfoodmonth.org.
More information about the Eat Local Challenge can be found at farmers’ market info booths, at humfarm.org, or by calling (707) 441-9999. Information can also be found at Customer Service at both North Coast Co-op locations.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of the Co-op News.