This coming Tuesday, June 16th, Transition Cowichan and Cowichan Green Community invite Cowichan residents to take up the challenge to eat only local, Vancouver Island grown, raised or locally fished food for 24 hours as part of the Valley’s 4th Annual Eat Local Challenge. You can sign up at: www.facebook.com/events/1740883392805064/ or at the CGC store.
“Many Cowichan residents have been taking steps to eat more local food,” says Transition Cowichan’s Jane Kilthei. “The Challenge is a chance to take the plunge and see whether we can source all that we eat for 24 hours as close to home as possible. The ongoing drought in California is sobering,” Kilthei says. “It’s not just about rising food prices. We’re learning that with a changing climate and dwindling aquifers we can’t count on California to continue supplying food to BC year round.”
“It comes down to taking control of our own food production again,” says Cowichan Green Community Executive Director Judy Stafford. “We can’t wait for any more of a crisis than this. We’ve got great agricultural potential here in the Cowichan Valley and this is a great opportunity to think about how we’re going to scale up local production. The 24-hour Eat Local Challenge is a wonderful way to put growers and eaters together and experience what’s possible.”
June is a great time to give eating local a try. We’ve got the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Duncan, and a number of smaller farmers’ markets mid-week, lots of farm gate sales, shops and restaurants that feature local fare, and many of our own back yards producing food.
Transition Cowichan takes a leaf out of writer Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, who describes her family’s journey to eating locally. As a part of the Challenge every family member is allowed to pick one small non-local item the family can eat for the day. Maybe you can’t imagine going 24 hours without a cup of coffee, so that can be your choice, and you can go for fair trade, locally roast beans. Perhaps you’ve got a favorite oil and vinegar dressing that you can made with local herbs and vinegar, but the olive oil comes from off island. But, if you’re thinking salt,there’s actually great Vancouver Island salt available locally (see packet in the photo). The idea is to experience the wide variety of tasty, healthy food that can be sourced locally without the carbon footprint associated with standard shipped-in supermarket fare, to support local producers, and imagine what we can all do to increase food security on Vancouver Island.
Cowichan residents can sign up for the “Eat Local Challenge” on the Transition Cowichan Facebook page or on paper at the Cowichan Green Community store. And if you’re already a local foodie, the challenge is to set yourself a stretch goal and see if you can source everything you eat on June 16th from right here in the Cowichan Valley. It is doable!
To celebrate the day everyone is invited to bring a local dish to an all-local potluck dinner as a part of Cowichan Green Community’s AGM on the evening of June 16th from 4:30 – 7:30pm at the Christian Reform Church in Duncan. This year’s guest speakers with be Anne and Gord Baird who walk the talk of local growing and eating and overall sustainable living at their home, Eco-Sense – which has been called the “World’s Greenest Modern House”. Admission is by donation. Hope you’ll join us!