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Where Y'Eat: During Eat Local Challenge Month, A New Look At Local Food

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Eat Local Challenge
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Some of the events scheduled during the annual Eat Local Challenge are held on a Central City rooftop with a view of the CBD.

In the weeks ahead, you may start seeing a different side of local food, one that might include the innovative, the overlooked or underutilized, and even the invasive.

It could turn up on a foraging field trip for wild edible plants in urban parks, or at a so-called “trash fish” happy hour to sample Gulf seafood that doesn’t usually make it to the dock. It could even be at a rooftop dinner in Central City with a menu of wild boar, nutria, lionfish and kudzu.

These events are all part of the annual Eat Local Challenge. Held each June, it’s a free-form happening and collection of special events intended to get people in the New Orleans area eating more local more often.

It’s called a challenge because people who register for it pledge to eat foods produced within a 200-mile radius of the city for the whole month. Now, that can mean eating local exclusively, or picking a less stringent level, more to try things out.

Beyond the challenge, there are plenty one-off Eat Local events in June, ranging from cocktail parties and bicycle tours of urban farms to hands-on demos for making your own rice noodles, your own baby food or your own beer.

And some of these events delve quite a bit deeper, challenging ideas not just for how we define local but also how we define food.

Get details on the Eat Local Challenge and its events at nolalocavore.org.

Ian covers food culture and dining in New Orleans through his weekly commentary series Where Y’Eat.

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