150 Ways to Eat More Local Food

This is it. This is the year to live better. To eat and grow local wherever you live. Need an idea to get started today? Want to try something new in the garden or the kitchen? Take the challenge to try 1 or all 150. Either way you’ll be living closer to the locavore lifestyle.150 Ways to Eat More Local Food

  • Use an old road map and a protractor to draw 100, 200, and 500 mile circles around your city. Choose ingredients based on these lines to define your locavore diet.
  • Compost.
  • Read about 10 locavores online. You’re more likely to stick with a local lifestyle if you know you’re in good company.
  • Join your local co-op grocery store.
  • Pack a local lunch for work instead of dining out on fast food or cafeteria fare.
  • Order your seed catalogs and start planning for the growing season.
  • Shop the winter farmers’ markets for local meat, cheese and honey.
  • Make pancakes from scratch – use local flour, eggs and drizzle with maple syrup.
  • Read the labels and know the difference between processed, manufactured, and distributed by. The difference can change how local the ingredients actually are.
  • Host a chili cook-off with the neighbors. Recipe with the most local ingredients earns a prize.
  • Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Turn the TV off during your meals. You’ll appreciate your food more and eat less.
  • Eat with the seasons.
  • Swap out your processed cooking oil for a locally pressed oil. Sunflower and grape seed oils are great for baking.
  • Reserve a community garden plot for this year’s season.
  • Cut out corn syrup. There’s nothing local about it.Sprouting Seed Blend
  • Grow your own sprouts to green up your plate in the middle of winter.
  • Read food blogs from your city and state for the beat on chefs and restaurants that support local producers.
  • Make a local lasagna.
  • Head to the supermarket. Make a crazy-flavored pizza topped with all of the local ingredients you find.
  • Pack a water bottle to work, the mall and in the car to replace soda and sugary drinks.
  • Learn the difference between local, organic, natural, and green.
  • Ask your roommates, spouse or children to help you prepare an all-local meal.
  • Plant an indoor herb garden.
  • Take the Meatless Mondays challenge for a month or the year.
  • Buy spices, flours and grains in bulk.
  • Host a Superbowl or Oscar party complete with locally themed appetizers.
  • Make fertilizer tea, not for you but for your plants.
  • Have a sourdough starter in your fridge that lives all year-long.
  • Plant a fruit tree in your yard or on your boulevard.
  • Take the Eat Local America Challenge in August.
  • Make sausage, biscuits and gravy with homemade biscuits and local sausage.
  • Buy a dozen local eggs and try natural egg dyeing.
  • Join a CSA.
  • Read Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon and start your own 100 mile challenge.
  • Try to find the oldest aged cheddar made in your area. Taste what local foodies had in mind 5, 10 or 25 years ago.
  • Make granola with local oats, flax and nuts.
  • Buy a locally made butter instead of margarine or other processed fats.
  • Bake bread.
  • Visit a maple sugar shack in March and tap into nature’s sweetest treat.
  • Add a locavore app to your smart phone.
  • Check garden guides and cookbooks out from the library to save money and trees on books you’ll only use 1 or 2 times.Chopped Rhubarb
  • Make rhubarb bread with the first ruby-red spears of the year.
  • As soon as the snow disappears, bust out your bike and ride it to a local food event.
  • Help an elderly friend plant a “Little Acre Garden Plot” near their patio for easy gardening.
  • Eat a salad with unique baby greens like Cimarron lettuce, mesculun, mache, and ruby-red crunch.
  • Go foraging for ramps.
  • Remember your re-usable shopping bags and look extra hip when you pack your local groceries.
  • Read “An Heirloom Life Gardener” by the folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and plant your favorite heirloom variety.
  • Host a Cinco de Mayo taco night with local meats, cheeses, and salsa.
  • Carpool for 30 days with a co-worker. Stop for dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant to reward yourself at the end of the month.
  • Try white asparagus. Bonus points if you steam it the same day it’s harvested.
  • Make your own yogurt.
  • Host a Michael Pollan book club for the year. Read and discuss each of his books with friends who are new and not-so-new to local food.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint. Reduce it by 25% by focusing on the type, source, packaging, and delivery of your meals.
  • Create a garden journal.Americauna Baby Chick
  • Raise backyard chickens. The urban coop is the new doghouse.
  • Read the online debate about locavores – learn what parts of the movement you a agree and disagree with.
  • Schedule a Valentine’s or Anniversary dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant. Better yet, schedule a private dinner at the farm!
  • Try your hand at charcuterie and cure your own bacon.
  • Circle the seed catalogs like the toy catalog at Christmas. Make your list and check it twice for the best fruits and veggies in your area.
  • Organize your freezer using the first-in-first-out method to always eat the freshest veggies and fruit.
  • Read the Farm Bill then make sure your legislators do too.
  • Give up the complaining and just try cauliflower for once.
  • Grill black bean burgers with local beans. Top with homemade ketchup and pepperjack cheese.
  • Take a friend to the strawberry patch. Try to catch each other sneaking a sample strawberry or two!
  • Watch “Truck Farm” and get inspired to garden in unusual places.
  • Pickle something besides cucumbers. Try zucchini, beans, carrots or garlic.
  • Learn which wild mushrooms are safe to eat, then forage for your own.
  • Buy or borrow a dehydrator and make homemade fruit leathers and jerky.
  • Take an afternoon off to fish on an area lake. Bread and fry your local catch for dinner.
  • Churn a pound of butter.
  • Join or start a bulk buying club to share the costs and buy larger containers.
  • Have a picnic with potato salad made with homegrown potatoes, vegetables and local eggs.
  • Make your own sangria with summer berries and local wine.
  • Can your own salsa.
  • Tour a community garden on Community Garden Day.
  • Start a batch of homemade wine in late-August. It’ll be ready just in time for holiday gifts.
  • Read First Lady Michelle Obama’s “American Grown” about how the White House kitchen garden honors a nation of growers
  • Caprese SaladSlice basil, tomato and fresh mozzarella for a late-summer salad.
  • Taste a local craft beer.
  • Warm up the house with fresh muffins. Use fresh berries in the summer, pumpkin in fall, and cranberries in late-winter.
  • Start a summer tour of your neighborhood’s backyard gardens. Share a potluck at the end with food grown in your yards.
  • Check out the prize-winning vegetables, breads, and jams at your county or state fair.
  • Save money on beauty products by making your own with local honey.
  • Buy a bouquet of locally grown fresh-cut flowers and take them to a friend you haven’t seen for a while.
  • Mix a pound of fresh berries with sugar and vodka for an impressive homemade liqueur.
  • Plant blueberry bushes for a natural hedge.
  • Re-create a recipe from your favorite restaurant at home with local ingredients.
  • Meet the manager at your supermarket. Ask him or her to carry more local products.
  • Have a watermelon eating contest with local melons. It’s so much easier to eat the juicy fresh stuff than a store-bought fruit!
  • Build a rooftop garden.
  • Read money man David Bach’s Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying
    to find out how the locavore life makes financial sense too.
  • Try soda bottle gardening.
  • Give gift cards to farm-to-table restaurants to friends and family skeptical about local food.
  • Smoke your own bratwurst and Italian sausages.
  • Attend a local food conference – either nationally or locally to meet others sharing the same lifestyle.
  • Pick your own apples at the orchard. Don’t forget the hayride!
  • Freeze fruit puree into low-sugar, chemical and dye-free popsicles.
  • Have an All-American BBQ with local meats and sausages.
  • Make strawberry freezer jam.
  • Check out Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” and see how many recipes you can make with 100% local ingredients.
  • Go camping and plan an all-local meal on the campfire.
  • Enjoy sun-dried tomatoes dried on cookie sheets in your backyard.
  • Watch “King Corn” and learn about industrial agriculture in America
  • Flax Seed Pumpkin BreadMake pumpkin bread.
  • Attend a dinner on the farm event.
  • Reduce the number of pre-packaged or plastic wrapped foods in your shopping cart. More than 30% of municipal solid waste comes from containers and packaging.
  • Walk to the farmers’ market instead of driving the car.
  • Buy a cheese-making kit and perfect a mozzarella recipe.
  • Cancel your cable TV. Use the time and money you save to cook better meals and grow more food.
  • Transform your yard into an edible landscape.
  • Write your city council person and ask for more community garden space in your neighborhood.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Can your own diced tomatoes – one of the most common ingredients
  • Impress your friends with your own sauerkraut.
  • Experiment with unusual pots and canisters for your container gardens.
  • Make a local dinner for your pet – simple meat and vegetable pet food recipes are easy to find online.
  • Catch rainwater in a rain barrel to save on watering costs.
  • Bookmark your favorite locavore websites or add them to a special RSS feed.
  • Try a mushroom kit.
  • Subscribe to the EdibleCommunities magazine in your area.
  • Go crazy for homemade condiments – ketchup, mustard and horseradish sauce are easier kitchen projects than you might think.
  • Tag along with a fall hunter and snag some local venison, grouse, or pheasant.
  • Carve a jack-o-lantern from a local pumpkin.
  • Fall in love with root vegetables.
  • Vacation in San Francisco where the term “locavore” was born.
  • Become a beekeeper or allow a host an apiary in your backyard in exchange for honey.
  • Brew beer or wine and host a tasting party when it’s finished.
  • Make custom canning and freezing labels so your friends always know what kitchen to return jars and containers.
  • Swap garden goodies with a friend. Give up your extra tomatoes for enough green beans for that canning project.
  • Buy a juicer and concoct your own V8 blend. Juicers can be found cheaper used online and in thrift stores.
  • Raw Sweet PotatoesRead about urban cold storage to give your veggies a good winter home in small spaces.
  • Build a solar-powered oven or food dryer.
  • Enjoy a flight of wine at a local vineyard.
  • Raise livestock in your backyard. Think outside the box. Maybe a milking cow won’t work, but a few ducks or a small goat may fit your space.
  • Make an online donation to an organization supporting local food on Razoo or Kickstarter.
  • Add hot pack, raw pack, blanching and boiling-water bath to your kitchen vocabulary.
  • Visit the pumpkin patch and carry out the largest one you can find.
  • Order a local turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Visit the farm it will be raised on when you pick up the bird.
  • Bike to the grocery store. You’ll buy only what you need and get exercise too.
  • Choose a Christmas tree from a local farmer. Head out and cut your own from the tree farm.
  • Plan a holiday cocktail party with local spirits.
  • Make creamy wild rice soup on the first night of frost.
  • Visit the dairy farm where your milk comes from.
  • Create a “Locavore Toolkit” full of resources and suggestions for friends and family who want to start eating locally.
  • Host a fondue party with local artisan cheeses and breads.
  • Stuff your stocking with chocolates from a local chocolatier.
  • Grow herbs and plants for your own backyard teas.
  • Start making your locavore plans for next year!

5 Comments

  1. This must have been fun to write up! I would also include finding a farm on Home Grown Cow that’s within your local radius and ordering meat in bulk. If you also join a produce CSA, then you will eat local for months without really trying.

    1. Author

      Totally agree that ordering a quarter of beef or pork can set you up for a year of local eating. We’ve done both a few years in a row now – it’s hard to even think about buying meat at the grocery store! Thanks for your extra ideas!


  2. great list – I love these suggestions! I just discovered your website and am liking what I see! I am also a gardener…for now with a balcony garden. Look forward to more from you!


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