So this is where I confess my sins… right?
People say how difficult it is, and others are praising what we are doing through opting to restrict ourselves to eat 100% local for an entire month. People like to see all or nothing, these challenges where people go all in. Whilst I love to do these things for myself, and they act as a great awareness tool, this year – we want this impact to be different. For the awareness not to be on how strict we can be, and for people to do the same, where there is some prize at the end for a temporary change – but instead to see how we can make eating local sustainable for the long-term, and implement it as our ‘norm’, and how others can see this no longer as a ‘challenge’ but instead as life. In these challenges people do great for the month, then they binge on the things they couldn’t have for the next days, and go back to ‘normal’. This is NOT what we want to see experience this year.
Immediately when starting this challenge for the second year, we completely second-guessed our purpose for doing this. What good does us being restricted and ‘suffering’ do for others? Because I go to bed hungry because I wasn’t prepared enough? Or getting anxiety because a friend wants to go out for lunch and there are no fully local options? That is NOT the purpose of this, but yet, that is exactly what we experienced from day 1.
While we have a beautiful abundance surrounding us, as we repeat from last year, Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. When it comes to eating and cooking at home, it has become habitual to opt for only local ingredients. We grow our own veg, and want the quality and provide the support to other local producers when it comes to the rest of our food. As well as preventing plastic, and reducing miles of the food.
However, this year, instead of saying no to ever going out, or beating ourselves up when we don’t prepare somethings for the long days of work, we instead opt for using our passion to work on a long lasting change. We go out, and we spread the word. We go to the restaurants and question their ingredients, and ask for local options. Requesting seasonal wild fish with a side of seasonal veg and potatoes. These small things will make more of a difference in the long-term then us staying home to have our own food. When these restaurants understand there is demand, and people prefer local options, then they can start prioritizing it in their kitchen. It’s all a matter of supply and demand.
This years mission is to continue prioritizing 100% local in our own kitchen, make as much of our own food as we can from scratch from what we grow ourselves, whilst demanding local from external places. THIS we can sustain all year round. THIS is where change in society can begin to happen for prioritizing local. If you want to know WHY we are doing this, you can read more here!
So yes, we have not been 100% local. YES we have not been as prepared as last year. BUT, this is the reality that most people live – that we live in a society where we are too busy to even fulfill our basic needs. We rely on others to feed us as we don’t have enough time to do so. Especially in Malta, life is fast-paced, packed with things from 8am-8pm. When are we supposed to spend time to go to all these places to stock up on local goods, then to cook it too?! While this SHOULD be a priority where we can do this. And last year it was. I had the time and capacity to meal prep and make sure we had 3 meals a day and snacks of fully local goodness. But this year our schedules and lifestyles are very different, and if I were to want to do that, it would have to be at midnight – and I NEED my sleep to prepare for another long day ahead. And this is how many peoples reality are these days.
While it is not ideal, it is true for many of us. We go through phases where different aspects of our lives are more of a priority than others. We have pillars. And food isn’t always on there. But that doesn’t mean choosing local is any less important. This year, the challenge is all about finding how we can integrate these options for us for the long-term, and learn and work with the community to find ways to make good local food and producers more easily accessible to the public. To make sure there is always a local option for people on the go!
While some people may look at this as a failure of a challenge, I see it as an even greater success – as this year we have spoken out, and not just done it to challenge ourselves personally. We have let go of our ego telling us to be perfect, and are working towards sharing the beauty and simplicity that fully local CAN be 🙂
Only bringing local ingredients into our home and demanding local when we are outside our home isn’t a 30 day challenge, it is something we can and will continue moving forward, and hope that others will take on as well.
What is the biggest challenge for you in eating local? Let’s change that!