Consumers Union and Eat Well GuideÂ®, a free online directory for finding local, sustainable food, have partnered to launch the Thanksgiving Local and Organic Food Challenge. The Thanksgiving Challenge aims to inspire Americans to learn more about local, sustainable or organic food by using the Eat Well Guide to find local ingredients for at least one dish they will prepare as part of their holiday meal.
“At a time of numerous food safety issues, produce and meat recalls, and rising food prices, consumers want to know where their food is coming from, how it’s being produced, and what carbon footprint, or ‘foodprint,’ it might have,” says Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union. “There are many great reasons to buy local: Fresh, local fruits and vegetables may retain more nutrients than produce shipped hundreds of miles. Local food can help cut back on climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions. If they are grown organically, they will help protect air, water and soil quality.”
Eat Well Guide Director Destin Joy Layne adds, “For Americans, Thanksgiving is the year’s peak travel weekend, but there’s no reason the food for our feasts has to travel thousands of miles as well. This is the perfect time to use our interactive Eat Well Guide to find locally produced turkey, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, dairy, meat and more, wherever you live.”
Three noted chefs, Dan Barber, Mario Batali and Alice Waters, long-time supporters of the local and sustainable food movement, are encouraging participants to buy local this holiday season. They also each contributed a recipe:
- Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurants, contributed a recipe for SautÃ©ed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pistachio.
- Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California and founder and president of the Chez Panisse Foundation, offered a recipe for Chard Gratin.
- Mario Batali, chef/owner of many restaurants in New York City, including Babbo, Lupa, Esca, Casa Mono, Bar JamÃ³n, Otto and Del Posto, added Marinated Butternut Squash.
The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of thousands of family farms, restaurants, and other outlets for fresh, locally grown food. Originally a database of sustainably-raised meat and dairy producers, its listings have expanded to include farmers’ markets, CSA programs, partner organizations, water-conscious ratings and vegetarian eateries.