Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Are You Up For the Challenge - Green City Market Eat Local Challenge

Chicago's Green City Market is sponsoring a "Localvore Challenge" [ed., still using that spelling huh?]. Last year they wanted you to eat local for a week; this year they are extending it a week. Eat local for two weeks!

At the Beet, Michael wonders about the challenge:.
I’m pleased by any attention brought to the idea of eating locally-produced foods, but I tend to bristle a bit at these short-term “events” where people try to endure the pain of changing their habits for a short period of time. Changing your shopping and dietary habits is a difficult process and not something that can be taken on in a cold turkey mode.
I’d love to see the organizers of this event follow up with some participants a year later and see if they held on to any of the changes they made during the two-week event. I’m skeptical about the effectiveness of these challenges and I don’t like how they frame eating locally as something that you need to “endure”, but I’m still hopeful that the Locavore Challenge can turn a few people towards locally-farmed foods.
I think Michael is right-on, but I am a little more generous to the benefits of the Challenge.

I am, however, a bit miffed that the wisdom of this blog and the Local Beet are not more fully drawn on by those blogging for Green City. I've taken my complaints to the Beet's forum. Hope to see you there--and not just to talk about the Green City bloggers!


Sara Gasbarra said...

Hi VI,

My name is Sara Gasbarra and I am a Green City Market volunteer, as well as the coordinator of the Localvore Challenge blog. I am sorry you are "miffed" by the lack of resource our bloggers appear to have shown while researching this Challenge and are shocked that they have not consulted with the two sources mentioned in your post, Local Beet and your own blog.

When creating our Localvore Challenge blog, we decided this year to recruit our bloggers from our diverse group of Green City Market Facebook fans. Some are avid bloggers, some are blogging for the first time. That is what makes our blog great! We believe our diverse group of bloggers is representative of the diversity of the people who shop Green City Market on any given Wednesday or Saturday. We have some bloggers who are avid "localvores" and who are using our blog to promote their already established local eating/living habits, we have some bloggers who are less frequent Market shoppers and who are new to the concept of eating 100% locally and we have bloggers who are regular Market shoppers who eat somewhat locally, but would like to improve on this and broaden their idea of what eating locally encompasses.

The point of our blog is to offer up an exchange of information and a forum featuring a variety of personal experiences during this Challenge. Some of our bloggers have more experience with it and others do not. That is the beauty of this Challenge.

I welcome you to stop by our Market Resource table on Wednesday and Saturday to see how our great Market volunteers are providing our Localvore participants and our bloggers with information on eating locally and answering questions that have and will arise during this Challenge. We like to think of our market resource table as a great source of information during our Market season. In addition to information we are providing about Green City Market, we are also providing our bloggers and participants with information about shopping for locally produced products at other outlets throughout the city. We understand that GCM doesn't carry it all!

The purpose of the Localvore Challenge is, by and large, to educate people about the benefits of eating locally. I understand your criticism of eating locally for only two weeks, but I assure you that not a single person I have spoken with at the Market table or while blogging thinks of this Challenge as something they must "endure", so you're choice of words was inaccurate. Our market-goers are excited about this and excited about what they might gain from it. We hope that by encouraging someone to think more closely about the food they consume and where it originates from, even for two short weeks, it will change the way they think about their food in the future.

As for our bloggers not seeking your advice on your own pages, please understand that not everyone is knowledgeable of your page(s). So why would you think these pages would be the first sources of information our bloggers would seek out? As I said before, we set up our blog to facilitate an exchange of information. We welcome you to "assist" out our bloggers with your own advice and personal expertise. For this reason, you are able to make comments under all posts. Unfortunately, you have encouraged our bloggers to search the information on your own page, yet been critical of them in the process. Before you criticize, please make sure you directly address the source of your criticism first. We welcome all comments on our blog, both good and bad. But we also wish you would not cast hasty judgement.

I am available at the Market resource table Wednesdays from 7-9 and Saturdays from 9-11.

Thank you,


VI said...

Sara, thank you for taking the time to post. I am glad also you have now found this site and, I assume also the other site where I blog, Localbeet.com. We share common interests in local eating and in encouraging and supporting eating local in the Chicago area.

You will also notice that I have been supportative of the "Localvore Challenge" both on my blog and on Localbeet.com. If you read all the posts, you will see I defend the Challenge, not claim it is something to endure. And surely I tried to give a bit of publicity to the challenge to the readers of both of my sites (including readers in the media).

Am I un-miffed now that you've stopped by? Nope. I'm an easy miffer. Am I surprised that you all did not make reference to my site in the pre-amble to your challenge. I guess enough surprise to get the miff going. I have been blogging about eating local for several years. I also contribute to the Eatlocalchallenge.com blog. I may not be the most famous or most linked blogger in the Chicago area, but I think I'm widely known. Known enough to be a resource for you and your group.

I think, nay hope, you can tell from my viewing of your blog and my comments on said blog that I'm not trying to hog all the eat local glory. Rather, I am there behind you all, trying to make your challenge that much easier, that much more successful and, mostly, lasting much longer than 2 weeks.