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Go Local in the Dakota Local Food Challenge!


Find out in the


Sept. 12-25, 2015


What is the Dakota Local Food Challenge?

The Dakota Local Food Challenge is a way for people in the Dakotas to get better connected to the land and the people who produce our food by eating food produced locally for two weeks in September (Saturday, Sept. 12, through Friday, Sept. 25). Participants will (briefly) chart their local foodiness each day on a calendar, downloadable here, and then either e-mail or mail that calendar back to us the week following the challenge.

If you want to fill out the form on your computer so you can easily e-mail it in later, download this version. Make sure you have a version of a PDF reader that allows you to SAVE the form. Try just filling out your name, saving it, and reopening it to make sure you won’t lose your work:


If you just want to download the form to print it out, write in the information, and send it back in the mail, download this version:


By Friday, Oct. 2, either e-mail the form to or mail it to Dakota Local Food Challenge, PO Box 603, Frederick, SD 57441.

What will I get if I take part?

t-shirtEveryone who completes a calendar will get a fun “I WENT LOCAL” T-shirt, and their names will also be put in a drawing to win other prizes. Moreover, you’ll also get a greater appreciation of your place in the world of agriculture and a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Some others who have taken part in local food challenges report other benefits such as feeling healthier, losing weight, and making friends—though we’re only guaranteeing the T-shirt.

So does every bite of food for those 14 days need to come from a local source?

Not exactly. We’ve set up two levels of participation:

LOCAL BASIC: Eating all of your fruits and vegetables from local sources for 30 days.

LOCAL HARDCORE: Eating all local food for 14 days, with the exception of seven items that are not.These items are yours to choose; some suggestions for these seven items are salt, spices, coffee, olive oil, bananas, and chocolate. Since dairy products are not readily available locally, you may wish to have milk, butter or ice cream on your list.

In Kulm, N.D., a step in between those two is being proposed: Buying fruits and veggies locally, and getting whatever else you need from the local small-town grocery store, since they also often need support. That’s also an option for you, though we’re not keeping track of this option officially.

How do you define “local”?

Determining that is perhaps the hardest part of the challenge! Some people define it as food produced within 100 miles of their home; others give the radius as 250 miles. One author who still farms with horses defines it as food he can get within a day’s buggy ride of his home!

For those who have committed to the LOCAL BASIC level, this won’t be so hard – if you’ve grown it yourself, or you’ve met the person who grew it, you can pretty much count it as local. Grocery stores also label their local produce as such nowadays.

If you want to go LOCAL HARDCORE, however, the question is much trickier. Is sweet corn from Minnesota local? Probably not; there’s plenty of sweet corn available locally. Is milk from Minnesota local? Maybe; it’s tough to find a local source for dairy. However, there are other considerations besides just distance; the fewer changes of hands the product has between the farmer and you, the better.

Questions about how you define “local”—and anything else you want to know about the challenge—can be asked on by commenting at the Dakotafire Café Conversations page, or e-mailing golocal {at}

Final determinations about whether you get a T-shirt will be made by Dakotafire Media. (But it’s not really about the T-shirt, anyway—see the “warm fuzzy” comment under “What will I get,” above.)

How do I connect with others taking part in the Local Food Challenge?

Talk to us! We know this is going to be a challenge — please let us know your thoughts and struggles by posting comments on the Dakotafire Café Conversations page! We’ll respond as we can to each concern or question.

Hit the button below, then hit the blue “Reply” button to join in the conversation!


More resources: If you are interested in reading about how people in other places have challenged themselves to eat locally, check out these resources:

  • “A group blog written by authors who are interested in the benefits of eating food grown produced in their local foodshed. Spanning the United States, the group is committed to challenging themselves to eat mainly local food during a specific period of time during the year.”
  • Minnesota Local Food Challenge: Archived content of a year-long local food challenge that involved people from North Dakota and Minnesota in 2005.
  • Eat Local Challenge.
  • New Orleans Local Food Challenge. Beautiful website on their local food challenge this past June.
  • Real Food Challenge: If this isn’t enough of a challenge for you, take it to another level by committing to eat only “real food”! Learn their definition of real food here (and check out the nifty graphic)!

Ready to sign up?

Great! That will help us know how many T-shirts to order.



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