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When Georgianna Wilson committed to the Eat Local Challenge for the month of October,  she didn’t think it was going to be that challenging. She was already signed up for weekly produce boxes through Plow to Porch, a local CSA program, and to top it off, she won one of the local food baskets in the Eat Local Giveaway by CEC and Edible Santa Barbara.

How much easier could it get?

But, she soon realized, there were still a lot of food items whose origin she had never thought about – such as breads, pastas, and other grains. Suddenly, a number of those things that she’d relied on for quick, easy meals were off the list.

Georgianna does have her own dietary restrictions — she doesn’t eat gluten — which made the experience particularly challenging. But she found meaning in identifying creative ways around those impediments. Even though she couldn’t eat the local pasta or the locally baked bread from farmers’ markets, she found a gluten-free buckwheat loaf from KD’s Gluten-Free Bakery, a local online store that offers home deliveries and partners with several local businesses including Plow to Porch and Pacific Health Foods. And she “started making ‘pasta’ with zucchini noodles.”

In addition to trying these new foods, Georgianna used the challenge as an opportunity to get back into the habit of doing certain activities that she missed doing, like bringing her own lunch to work instead of eating out. She also went to local farmers’ markets once a week to supplement her food supplies. If she missed a market, she shopped at the Plow to Porch Market, Lazy Acres, or Isabella Gourmet Foods to fill in the gaps.

Georgianna didn’t have to completely eliminate dining out either. Using the Edible Santa Barbara Dining Guide for reference, she was able to identify several restaurants around Santa Barbara who prioritize sourcing local ingredients for their meals, including Goodland Kitchen, Backyard Bowls, and Fresco Café North. For fast food, she simply picked up some pot pies from Simply Pies or ordered pizza from Pizza Guru. And she did allow herself a few exceptions including her cooking oils, vinegar, and spices that she already owned.

Her takeaway of the experience?

“I looked at this challenge not as limiting, but as an opportunity to become more aware about what I buy and also to try new local products and to purchase more of the ones I only bought as a treat occasionally when I went to the farmers’ market . . . I was so happy to win the basket because it made it a lot easier!”

Here are some of the other local foods and drinks that Georgianna enjoyed throughout the month:

Santa Barbara Popcorn Co, Jilz Gluten Free Crackerz, Baba Foods Hummus, Mesa Salsa Co, Olivos Del Mar olives, Spring Hill Cheese, Casitas Valley Creamery Cheese, Pacific Pickle Works

Teechia, SB Bar, Sugar & Salt Creamery Raw Sprouted Almond Milk, San Marcos Farms Honey, Green Star Coffee, Goodland Chai

Salads, leftovers from dinner, sandwiches with KD’s Gluten Free Bakery Buckwheat Bread, Fat Uncle Farms almond butter, Mama’s Preserves strawberry raspberry jelly, Avila & Sons apple rings

Lukas & Bloom Chocolate, Silver Fork Bakery Wheat-Free Brownies

Local sea bass, whole roasted chicken, meatloaf, roasted potatoes, roasted veggies (asparagus, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, different types of squash), lots of soups (butternut squash, chicken stew), zucchini noodle “pasta”

Wines from Pianetta Winery (Paso Robles) and Rideau Vineyard (Solvang)


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