If you've ever bitten into an heirloom tomato purchased at a roadside farm stand, picked not too long before that, you know that eating the pale, plastic-wrapped varietals at the megamart just isn't the same. Now, thanks to the Sonoma County GoLocal Cooperative, you can gobble up that tomato like an apple and earn points at the same time.As part of the month-long Eat Local Challenge promoting the bounty of Sonoma County and the benefits of eating locally, the GoLocal Cooperative invites community members to sign up on the group's website to pledge to eat locally for the month of August. Every time participants report that they buy produce at local farmers market, eat at a locally owned restaurant, plant a garden or even read about food issues, they'll get points.
According to Cooperative events coordinator Julie Montgomery, the point system is a means of providing a structure for participants to change their habits. Though there are no prizes for the highest point winner, Montgomery says that the results of eating locally itself produces huge rewards."There are a lot of benefits," she says. "I hope people who do the challenge will learn that their health can improve and the local economy can be improved."
To further its educational mission and provide another venue for point seekers, the GoLocal Cooperative is teaming up with county restaurants to hold screenings of, you guessed it, food films. On Aug. 17, Santa Rosa's Bistro 29 serves a three-course meal as well as a chilling look at genetically modified produce in the documentary The Future of Food ($40). On Aug. 19, the Union Hotel in Santa Rosa will present Fresh, a look at new ways to feed communities, and hearty Italian family-style platters ($20). Another food doc and flavorful feast will greet guests at Sassafras on Aug. 22 when The Real Dirt on Farmer John is paired with local modern American cuisine ($35).
For more information on the Eat Local Challenge, more events and a full listing of all the places you can earn local points visit www.golocal.coop or call 707.888.6105.
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