The Eat Local Challenge

Thanks for your interest in the Eat Local Challenge! Our last challenge ended on August 31. Below you’ll find the details of what we did. Look for next year’s challenge to begin in August, and keep your eye out for our Winter Eat Local Challenge for one week in early March!


The Challenge:

Eat 80% of your food from the 5 state area for 1 month, from August 1 through August 31, 2009.

The Details:

Just sign up on the poster at the front of the store (which will be up in late July), or make a mental commitment if you’d like your challenge to be more private. Then try to make sure that four of every five foods you eat or ingredients you use is locally-produced. It’s that easy!

Because this is YOUR challenge (not ours), we encourage you to make it your own. If 80% seems too intimidating, go for 50%. If you’re already eating mostly local foods, perhaps you want to increase your challenge to 90% or even 100%. Some folks decide that they will include locally-roasted coffee in their definition of local food, and some instead assume their coffee will fall into the non-local category, and are grateful that they’ve got 20% non-local wiggle-room! The idea here is to set your own challenge before August 1, and then try to meet that challenge all month long. It may seem overwhelming at first, but keep in mind that local food abounds at this time of year. You just might surprise yourself!

The Sources:

  • Look for the local label at Just Food Co-op, or ask a helpful staff member for assistance in finding our many local products. No matter where you shop, read the label to find out where your product was grown or produced.
  • Ask your favorite restaurant or coffee shop if they are sourcing any of their ingredients locally. Many of the local coffee shops use local dairy products.
  • Visit the farmer’s market. In Northfield, it is held in Riverside Park on West 7th Street, Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm and on Saturdays from 9:00 to 11:00 am.
  • Talk to a local farmer! Many local farmers will sell what they grow directly to you off of their farm. Visit to find farms near you.
  • Think about how you can make eating local food easier in the future. Now is the time to preserve locally-grown foods for year-round local eating!

The Inspiration- Events During the Challenge:

Farm Tour
Topping the list of activities is an August 1 tour of one of the area’s oldest organic vegetable farms, Gardens of Eagan, and one of the area’s most-prominent grass-fed cow dairy farms, Cedar Summit. The guided tour is offered at a price of $25 per person, and includes transportation to and from a central pick-up location (in Apple Valley) and a boxed lunch.
To reserve your space, contact Lauren Zamorano at as soon as possible.

The Eat Local Challenge Kickoff:  Local Corn Roast
Just Food Co-op will be hosting a good old-fashioned corn roast to kick off our Eat Local Challenge. On August 1 from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. (rain or shine), we invite you to our parking lot, where we will be selling locally-grown, freshly-roasted corn on the cob as well as pulled pork sammies, Strider’s crazy slaw, and soft drinks.

August 1, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. (rain or shine)

in the Just Food parking lot



Cooking Local with Chefy Girl

Just Food Co-op is excited to announce that Martha Jirovec of Chefy Girl will teach a series of cooking classes during the month of August that will be focused on locally-grown foods! Classes are $15 each or $50 for the series. Instructor will provide recipes, supplies, and a very full meal. Classes will be held in the Just Food Event Space and are limited to 20 people- reserve your seat by signing up with a cashier at Just Food Co-op. Payment must be made at time of registration.


Note: This is a farmers market challenge. Menus are subject to change as the chef will be shopping at the farmers market!

Wednesday, August 5
6-7:30 p.m.

Napa Slaw with Watermelon Vinaigrette
Water Street Grilled Chicken
Blueberry Fool

Wednesday, August 12
6-7:30 p.m.

Summer Vegetable Gallette
Minnesota Chop Salad
Zucchini Cookies

Wednesday, August 19
6-7:30 p.m.

Summer Squash Ribbon Salad
Smoked Turkey and Apple Melt
Sauteed Pears witih Ricotta cream

Wednesday, August 26
6-7:30 p.m.

Tomato Jam Tart
BLT Caprese Hand Roll
Cherry Cobbler




FRESH: The Movie
We are thrilled to announce that Just Food will be showing the feature-length film “Fresh” at the Northfield Arts Guild Theater for one night only, followed by a panel discussion with panelists Atina Diffley (consultant, Organic FarmingWorks, and former farmer and co-founder of Gardens of Eagan), Matthew Fogarty (Executive Chef for Bon Appetit at St Olaf College), and Erica Zweifel (Northfield City Council Member).  Read a great movie review at Space is limited! Tickets are on sale now at or at Just Food Co-op.

Friday, August 7, 7-9 p.m.
at the Northfield Arts Guild Theater

$10 per person



Food Drying 101 with Mary T. Bell

Author and food dehydration expert Mary T. Bell is back again to share her knowledge with us. Participants will find out what drying is, how long it takes, how to tell when food is dry, and storage options. You will taste, feel, and smell dried  food, and learn how to dry fruits and vegetables and make fruit leather, jerky, pet treats, and crafts. Space is limited- reserve your seat today!

 PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. A minimum of 10 registrants are needed by August 12 at 5 p.m.

August 13, 7 p.m.

in the Just Food Event Space

$12 per person for Just Food member-owners, $15 non-owners




Local Cheese Tasting

Spend a decadent evening in the Just Food Event Space with deli manager Miller Rogers as he takes your taste buds on a journey through some of his favorite locally-produced cheeses.

August 14, 7-8:30 p.m.

in the Just Food Event Space

$15 per person for Just Food member-owners, $20 non-owners




Tour de Farms

Bike the bounty! You’re invited on this family-friendly bike ride to area farms and community gardens.

Saturday, August 22

Meet at the Northfield Farmer’s Market at 10 a.m. with your bicycle. Don’t forget water and a helmet!

contact Katie Blanchard ( for more information, and if you’d like to help plan or participate!






The Just Good Books Club Discusses: THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA by Michael Pollan

The Just Good Books Club meets every other month to discuss books that deal with sustainability, in a very broad sense. Topics may include growing/preserving/buying/cooking/eating healthy foods, simplifying lifestyles, mindfulness, and ecological/environmental issues. August’s selection is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” available at the Northfield Public Library and at Monkey See Monkey Read on Division Street in downtown Northfield.
Wednesday, August 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Meeting at 400 East 1st Street (across from Carleton’s chapel)

Contact Ann if you plan to attend at or 651-707-3545.






The 4th Annual Harvest Festival

Everyone is invited to the party! Come down to the Just Food parking lot for live music, tasty local samples, kid’s activities (including ArtOrg’s Steamroller Print Workshop- see what the process looks like here), and great conversation!

August 29, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. (rain or shine)

in the Just Food parking lot


… and, of course, we hope that this blog site gives you lots of inspiration to eat more local foods!