'Locavore Challenge' supports local farms

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:05

    Rochester — This September, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York is launching its second annual New York Locavore Challenge. The monthlong campaign aims to engage consumers across the state in supporting the local organic food movement. A "locavore" is a person who commits to eating most of their food from local sources, often within a 100- or 250-mile radius. "Our food system is broken," the organizers say. "Family-farms go out of business every year, our nation's farmers are getting older, farms continue to apply more and more toxic pesticides on our soils, in our air, and in our water, genetically-engineered crops threaten our ecological balance, and animals are fed unhealthy additives and are raised in inhumane conditions. Crop varieties are diminishing, food miles are increasing, and our climate is changing. Furthermore we lead the world in obesity rates." They say the local organic movement is standing up to this trend because organic and sustainable farmers "practice clean food practices and follow strict standards that uphold the highest ecological standards for both our land and our communities." The Challenge starts with the "vote with your dollar" tactic and takes it a few steps further. It's aiming for 5,000 people to join the challenge. Participants can choose their level of commitment. They can take the challenge in their own communities, on their own time, and with their own friends, families and favorite farms. "If you can take the time to do simple tasks like write a letter, click "Like" on Facebook, and try just one new local organic food item during September, then you can take on this challenge," organizers say. Challenges come in three sizes: bite-sized, meal-sized, and feast-sized. Categories include Grow, Cook, Eat; Join the Movement; and Take Action. Locavore Challenge events happening statewide end in the "Potluck Across NY" on Sunday, Sept. 25. Registration is free and available online at www.NYLocavoreChallenge.com or by calling 585-271-1979 ext. 512.