Are You Ready to Try the 10% Locally Grown Challenge?

A basket of locally grown produce

If you’ve been following Urban Seeds for any length of time, you know that our mission to food access, especially local options, takes a multi-faceted approach–and education is a huge part of the conversation. Recently we were flattered to receive contact from Kevin Kunst, head of Evansville Day School, about presenting to his AP Human Geography class. The class studies the spatial relationship between humans and food globally; and we were invited to discuss aspects of food insecurity, supply chain issues, and more, in a local context.

Our director Robin Mallery was thrilled to speak with an engaged group of youth about a wide variety of local food issues. Among the topics covered were the effects of COVID-19 on the food supply chain and how local farms were better equipped to handle these issues as a result of being closer to their community. Other local farm benefits are local economic and job growth, getting to know your food sources, and the future of indoor farming and its environmental benefits.

Robin also discussed the prevalence of local Food Priority Areas, formerly known as food deserts, and the causes, as well as the multiple devastating impacts to individuals’ health as a result.

Most importantly, possible solutions to food inequality were addressed, such as cooperative buying, food rescue – the repurposing of excess restaurant or retail food that would otherwise be thrown away – and Robin’s Kitchen Zen™ techniques, designed to maximize time management while minimizing food waste on an individual level. 

While researching the benefits of buying local food to alleviate many of our community’s food justice issues, Robin happened on a surprising statistic: “10% = $1 billion.  If we substituted 10% of our current at-home household food budget with locally grown and produced food, we would generate over one billion dollars of economic activity in Indiana. That’s just $458 per year per household.”–Ken Meter, CrossRoads Resource Center

We received some feedback indicating that these bright students were as engaged in the information presented as we at Urban Seeds always are to share it. The following is from an email received from Mr. Kunst:

“I wanted to thank you for speaking to my class last Thursday.  You were really wonderful with them and they learned a ton, and I think took away some really meaningful information both in how we are thinking about what we are studying, and what they can do themselves as actionable steps.  The next day, we talked as a class about your point about committing 10% of a grocery budget to local, which also ended up being a topic and a commitment of my own family this  weekend  (my son was in the class).

“More than anything though, I just appreciate so much the work that you are doing and the conversation you are creating here in what is an adopted home for both of us.  Thank you so much for that commitment.”

It is always gratifying to educate others in Urban Seeds’ passions regarding food justice, and even more so when we get the opportunity to help shape the choices for up-and-coming generations. 

Who else would like to participate? If you are able, please join us and the students of Evansville Day School in committing 10% of your food budget to buying locally grown items. You may be surprised at the benefits you notice! If you join us in shopping 10% locally grown, please report back! Post or send us your pics and experiences of buying locally grown (be sure to mention the producer from whom you purchased!) with the hashtag #10PercentLocalChallenge. Every month we’ll share our favorite pics, story, or recipe on our page! Be sure to share with your friends so our commitment to the local economy can continue to grow. Thank you!

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