August. A local food group interested in promoting truly local food consumption for reasons of sustainability, practicality, the environment and, of course, freshness, has issued a challenge to one and all to eat locally – within 100 miles of where you live for the month of August.

That means, eat food grown or produced within that radius. Since this is a very difficult challenge, each participant is expected to set their own personal limits and exceptions. Of course, lots of food bloggers are taking part.

Here are my personal rules – rather lenient I’m afraid, but we have in-laws visiting for ten days and my capabilities will be stretched.

1 – I can use anything already in the house regardless of where it came from, BUT if there is a local potion I’ll use it.

2 – Produce will all be local – apart from item 1 above. This’ll be easy thanks to our CSA from Terra Firma Farms and thanks to farmers markets.

3 – spices and special seasonings will be local if possible (ie bay leaves from the tree behind the house, sorrel and thyme and oregano and lavender and tarragon and sage and mint and chives and basil from the yard, etc.) but don’t have to be.

4 – Meat will be tough – I would avoid it if we didn’t have visitors. I will promise to get local meat if that option is available to me. If not I will get the most sustainably produced meat I can.

5 – luxury items will be left out of the equation

6 – eating out doesn’t count – fortunately for us, we eat out far far less than most families – at most once every two weeks. That’ll go up while we have visitors – can’t help that.

So those are my fast and loose rules. I should point out that these deviate very little from the rules we have lived and eaten by for the past seven years. On the whole we are pretty supportive of local food production. We have been CSA members for ten years. We buy local meat if we can. We grow a fair amount of our herbs and vegetables and fruit (peaches, lemons, apricots, strawberries, blackberries, arugula, sorrel, tomatoes so far this year). We walk and bike around town a lot. We make many of our sauces etc ourselves. We get honey from a local beekeeper. Etc.

Local is good. Local is fresh. Local is also high-quality since we live in California (that part isn’t fair for people elsewhere).

In order to make up a little for not being as local as I should be, the Paper Chef is going to have a new wrinkle this month – bonus points for sourcing the ingredients for your recipe locally.