A tasty, healthy challenge

August 2015 Posted in Community, Food & Drink
Francisco Stevens enjoying a juicy peach from the Harpole Farm stand.

Francisco Stevens enjoying a juicy peach from the Harpole Farm stand.

By Melissa Wagoner

August is a peak production month for most food crops in the Willamette Valley.

The farmer’s market and road-side stands are overflowing with berries, vegetables, and tree fruits.

This August the Oregon Food Bank is challenging residents to take advantage of the bounty by signing up for the Local Food Challenge.

Encompassing the entire month of August, participants can challenge themselves to purchase as much of their monthly groceries from local sources as possible, local being within a 200-mile radius.

“We wanted to make the challenge accessible,” Tracy Gagnon, a community resource developer for the Oregon Food Bank said. “We think 31 days is a realistic amount of time to hold an intention while also long enough to start developing new habits.”

The Oregon Food Bank is hosting the challenge in order to support the local community and establish a more stable food system.

“We think it’s one way to build food security and address one of the root causes of hunger,” Gagnon said.

Stacy Higby, owner of Forest Meadow Farm and co-manager of the Silverton Farmers Market, knows a lot about eating locally and the benefit it has on the community.

“When you spend your money locally, you’re supporting the people and businesses, farmers and producers in your own community, your friends and neighbors,” Higby explained.

The Local Food Challenge
Sign up for the Local Food Challenge at
The Oregon Food Bank

Here’s a list of local food sources
participating in the challenge:

Roth’s Fresh Markets
918 North First St., Silverton

Silverton Farmers Market
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Corner of Fiske and Main

Creekside Grill
242 South Water St., Silverton

The Gathering Spot
106 North First St., Silverton

The Glockenspiel Restaurant
190 East Charles St., Mount Angel

Silver Grille
206 East Main St., Silverton

Local Motive,
Silverton Food Co-op

Rooted in Food, LLC

Silverton Grange

This time of year Higby estimates that 75 percent of her family’s groceries come from local sources.

“In our community, the easiest way to start eating locally is by shopping at the farmer’s market. I find almost everything on my list there, and the prices and quality are great. Even if you can’t find something, you’ll probably find someone who knows where to get it. And you’ll definitely find the freshest, and best-tasting food available, because it’s all in season, has been picked just a few hours before market, and is raised by people who really care about their product and their customers.,” Higby said.

For those who can’t afford local prices, which tend to be higher than bulk stores, the Oregon Food Bank offers resources on signing-up for financial assistance programs.

“We would also encourage folks to look for a SNAP match program at a neighborhood farmers market,” Gagnon said. “The SNAP Match gives people more buying power at the market. Each dollar is worth two.”

And for those who don’t have time to cook or would like the pleasure of eating out there are many restaurants striving to source as much of their cuisine from local sources as possible.

One of several local eateries participating is the Creekside Grill in Silverton.

“We are making great progress every day at using more locally sourced foods,” manager Lori Webb said. “For example, we found locally grown Willamette Valley Quinoa, Arrowhead Wild Rice and Esotico Pasta made right here in Silverton.  All of these are in dishes that hold prominent places on our menu. Almost all of our veggies come from the farm of King Fresh Produce, just down the road.  It feels good to know that.”

Those interested in signing up for the Local Food Challenge must first create a profile on the Oregon Food Bank website. This will allow participants to estimate the amount they spend on groceries each month, create a local spending goal and track the actual amount spent throughout the month.

“Everyone gets to choose their own challenge. It starts at 10 percent but people should stretch themselves as far as they can go,” Gagnon encouraged. “We do want people to challenge themselves, but also want it to be manageable and fun.”

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