Join the National Co-op Eat Local, America! Challenge

Bloomingfoods is hosting its 2nd Eat Local, America! Challenge this summer, joining other natural food co-ops who are members of the challenge host, the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). You can kick-start your own quest to eat more local foods by participating, too. The challenge is designed to help people eat more local food, while celebrating our communities’ farmers and other food producers who make it all possible. The Bloomingfoods ELA Challenge runs from Sunday July 19 – Sunday August 23. You’ll find sign-up sheets in the three Bloomingfoods stores.

Okay, so just what are you committing to? This is a personal challenge, much like training to reach any other specific goal. You can decide to: 1) Make 4 meals out of 5 with local foods; 2) Make 5 meals a week with local foods; 3) Set your own local food goal (such as, purchase only local salad fixings, and make a local salad every day). There’s a poll at the website, and so far, most people (64%) are choosing the flexible option #3. Communities that have held Local Foods Challenges in the past say that it’s not about getting hung up on doing everything “right” (and yes, you can still drink coffee and use salt and pepper) – rather, it’s about learning about your own local options, and building more of those into your diet.

You’ll find resources in the Bloomingfoods stores, at, and at Ellen Michel and Katies Zukof, from Bloomingfoods and the Local Growers Guild, will be blogging at the Eat Local America site. There’s a great recipe there for the Argentinean dish Garden Chimichurri, which uses parsley, oregano, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno peppers, and scallions –  many of which you might find from local sources (or perhaps you grow your own). Word has it that Chimichurri is the new pesto!

The Bloomingfoods Eat Local, America! Challenge begins on the day after the co-op’s annual MAD/CAD Day, Member and Customer Appreciation Day, on Saturday July 19. Many local products will be on sale throughout the stores. Local vendors who want to sample their wares and talk to customers on this biggest shopping day of the year (when everyone receives an additional 5% discount) should contact the store managers to make arrangements: Meg Torrence at Bloomingfoods East (812-336-5400), Jason Hill at Bloomingfoods Near West Side (812-333-7312); and Jacob Goodman at Bloomingfoods Kirkwood (812-336-5300). A percentage of sales on MAD/CAD Day will be donated to the Local Growers Guild to help with their fundraising efforts this summer.

On Sunday July 26, Bloomingfoods will host a pitch-in local dinner Bryan Park, during a 6:30 – 8 pm concert with Jason Fickel and his band, part of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation summer concert series. Dinner prep will begin at 5:30 pm at the Henderson Shelter. Please bring a local dish to share, dishware, and a blanket for the lawn. It’ll be a great time to exchange ELA stories!

The ELA Challenge will end on Sunday August 23, with another pitch-in local dinner at the Henderson Shelter in Bryan Park, beginning at 5:30 pm. Krista Detor will perform that night in the park, as part of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Summer Concert Series, again sponsored by Bloomingfoods. Bring a dish with local ingredients to share, dishware, and a blanket, to enjoy an end-of-summer evening. The co-op will acknowledge people at this pot-luck who complete the ELA challenge.

Questions? Please contact Ellen Michel at 812-339-4442x105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Ellen Michel
Bloomingfoods Marketing Manager