St. Louis Local Foods Challenge Takes Off In June

St. Louis Local Foods Challenge

By Crystal Stevens

The importance of eating local is crucial to the future of food. With the rise in health and environmental concerns due to toxic pesticides, monoculture, and the many miles food travels, we are in dire need of a shift in the way humans hold reverence for food. Now more than ever, people are becoming genuinely concerned about what they are putting in their bodies. One way to make a difference in our daily lives is to support local farmers, local grocers, local chefs and local makers of artisan foods.

The Tower Grove Farmers Market, in celebration of their 10th anniversary, is gearing up for their first Local Foods Challenge. They are challenging community members in the St. Louis metropolitan area to take a 30-day eating local pledge. There are plenty of ways to source local foods- shopping at Local Harvest grocery, City Greens Market, shopping at the local farmers’ markets, joining a CSA farm, or trading your backyard harvests with your neighbors who might be growing something different than you are. Also, in the month of June, participants are encouraged to eat at restaurants who support local farmers. There are many benefits to signing up for the Local Foods Challenge including circulating funds back into the community, supporting farm families, supporting small independent business owners, all of which are making a positive impact on the community.

Participants pledge $30 per person and in return receive plenty of perks including a tote bag, a commemorative beer glass, a 1lb bag of Missouri grown rice, a card good for one free meal at Chipotle, free entry to educational events and tasting events sponsored by Local Harvest, as well as invitation to the closing BBQ at Tower Grove Farmers Market at the end of June. Participants will also receive special discounts to participating restaurants and destinations.

Maddie Shannon Earnest and Patrick Horine, co-owners of Local Harvest Grocer and Café and the heart behind Tower Grove Farmers Market make it a priority to source local at both their café and grocer. They co-created the Local Foods Challenge with the intention of further supporting local producers by promoting everyone who is involved in the local foods movement in our region. They feel that supporting local farmers and food artisans in any business model can really help to make a difference in the eating habits of the community as a whole.

According to Earnest, “We have seen a dramatic rise in the local foods movement since we started the Tower Grove Farmers Market ten years ago and since we opened Local Harvest Grocer eight years ago. The attendance at the farmers market has grown and each year more and more conscious consumers support Local Harvest Grocer. We have also seen an influx in the number of restaurants who are supporting local farmers and food artisans. We are really pleased about seeing larger stores and restaurants starting to give more attention to local foods. We are grateful to be a part of the local foods movement and to see the momentum grow more and more each year.”

To take the Local Foods Challenge, visit www.stlfoodchallenge.org

Where to shop local in the month of June:

Farmers’ Markets
Cherokee Street International Market
2647 Cherokee- Friday evenings 4-7

Clayton Farmers’ Market
Not taking place this
 summer, check back for 2016.

Farmers’ Market at the Cheshire
7036 Clayton
Saturday mornings 8-12
Kirkwood Farmers’ Market
150 E. Argonne
weekdays 9-6, Saturdays 8-5

North City Farmers’ Market
14th&St. Louis Ave
Saturday mornings 10-1

Schlafly Farmer’s Market
7260 Southwest Ave-
Wednesday evenings 4-7

Tower Grove Farmers’ Market
4256 Magnolia Ave
Saturday mornings 8-12

Webster Groves Farmers’ Market
Gazebo Park 
Thursday evenings 3-6:30

Join LaVista CSA Farm, just in time for juicy vine ripened heirloom tomato season!

Local Harvest Grocer
3108 Morganford Road, St. Louis, MO 63116
open 8am-8pm everyday

City Greens Market
4260 Manchester Ave,
St. Louis, MO 63110

Larder and Cupboard
7310 Manchester Road
Maplewood, MO 63143
Participants will also receive a link to the St. Louis Local Foods Map which highlights everywhere in town to access fresh, healthy local food and libations.

Local Food Challenge events include:

Planning Your Meal around Seasonal Offerings
June 2, 6-7:30
Location: Local Harvest Café, 3137 Morganford

Farm-to-Table 101: The Basics of Cooking
Nutritious and Delicious Grass-Fed BeefJune 4, 6-8 p.m.
Location: 3437 Caroline Street, St. Louis, MO 63104. Room 3046

Weed & Greet: June 4, 5:30-7:30
Location: Earthdance Farms, Ferguson, MO

La Vista Farms Work Day: June 7, 9-12:00
Location: La Vista Farms, Godfrey, IL
4350 Levis Lane, 63035

Live Springs Farm Tour: June 7, 11a.m. to picnic.
Tour starts promptly at 1:00 and last 2.5 hours
Location: Live Spring Farms

Local Libations: June 11, 6-7:30
Location: Planter’s House, 1000 Mississippi, 63104

The Real Cost of Food: Panel discussion moderated by Joe Bonwich:
June 17, 5:30-8:00
Location: The Stage at KDHX, 3524 Washington,
63103 (In Grand Center) 5:30-6:00 The Stage
kitchen is open if you want to grab dinner or a drink
before the panel. 6-7:30 Panel and moderator
questions 7:30-8:00 Audience questions

DIY Cheese Making Class with Marcoot Jersey Creamery
June 18, 6-8:00 p.m.
Location: SLU outdoor pavilion.
$20 for Local Food Challenge Participants

Summer Solstice Potluck and Open Mic at Earthdance Farms
June 20, 5:30-9:00 p.m.
Location: Earthdance Farms, Ferguson, MO
5:30pm – Farm tour; 6:30pm – Dinner time
7:30pm – Open Mic Night (Bring your instruments,
props, costumes, etc.!)

DIY Sauerkraut and Kim Chi
June 23, 6-7:30
Location: Local Harvest Café, 3108 Morganford
Road, 63116
Closing party BBQ: June 27 – at the Tower Grove
Farmers’ Market – Cost: Free!

Crystal Stevens is a regular contributor to The Healthy Planet and a farmer at La Vista CSA Farm.