Monday, April 16, 2007

PELC alert!

Next week is the Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge, a one-week experiment in which participants try to answer the question of whether eating local foods is really possible on a typical American budget.

Stew and I will be kicking off the week while I'm visiting her in North Carolina. Then the s.o. and I will continue when I get home on Tuesday.

Our budget goal will be $144 for the week, which is supposedly what the average family of two or more with two wage earners spends on food. It's basically $20 a day, which may be easy or hard, depending on what we want to eat!

Our definition of "local," for the purposes of this challenge, will be a 200-mile radius. We'll need a few geographical exemptions (coffee, chocolate, lemons, spices, and possibly oil/butter), but the cost of these items will still be included in our weekly total. And we'll do our best to reduce the impact of those exemptions, choosing organic fairtrade coffee, etc.

It's all too tempting to say a lot of what we eat is "free"--after all, we produce our own eggs and most of our own vegetables. But we know better than anyone that it's not free! We'll charge ourselves fair market value, i.e., what we'd charge for it at the farmers' market.

The biggest challenge: No white sugar for a week. I keep telling myself that it's only a week.

And of course, I'll report on the PELC here and on the Eat Local Challenge site. Anyone else want to join in?