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You Are What You Don't Eat 

Soon-to-be "localvores" dish up the foods they'll miss the most

NAME: Sheryl Graves

TOWN: Winooski

AGE: 43

OCCUPATION: Energy manager and engineer

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "The main thing was being aware of how much food is shipped over great distances and how energy-intensive that is . . . just being a lot more aware of my food is another piece of it."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Chocolate. I don't drink coffee, so I'm not too worried, but chocolate is going to be the big thing for me . . . I'm not giving it up forever, absolutely not, no way. I'm not that committed."

NAME: Russell T. Herrin

TOWN: Essex Junction

AGE: 37


WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "To promote locally grown food as a more environmentally friendly alternative to food grown outside the region. To me, the primary advantage of local food is the reduction in energy required for transportation to the consumer."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "I will miss chocolate the most."

NAME: Stefan Steingrimur Hermannsson

TOWN: Burlington

AGE: 21

OCCUPATION: AmeriCorps volunteer, UVM student, Draker Solar Design intern

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: I am engaging in the challenge because I want to teach myself a lesson. It will be fun. Besides, I almost eat totally local. I want to eat totally local -- now I will."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "I will miss salt. And my rye berries from New York."

NAME: Jason Parker

TOWN: South Burlington

AGE: 27


WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "Because it's a good way to force myself to eat natural foods." [Three people in Parker's house are taking the challenge along with seven of his neighbors.]

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Coffee would be the super-hard one. I need coffee to get my engine rolling . . . The system that my house worked out is, we're going to give us five 'get out of jail free' cards . . . For us, the whole point is for us to do more than we're doing."

NAME: Sophie Quest

TOWN: South Burlington

AGE: 72

OCCUPATION: State park volunteer

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "Well, for one thing, it's very good practice for when we don't have any oil and we'll only be able to eat local. For another thing, it's just fantastic to know your farmers . . . When you go to farmers' markets, you discover new treats that you can attach yourself to."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Turkish dried apricots. That's what I have for breakfast every morning on my oatmeal. Oatmeal will be a problem, but not a big problem."

NAME: Melinda Moulton

TOWN: Huntington

AGE: 56

OCCUPATION: CEO/Redeveloper, Main Street Landing; Board chair, Intervale Center

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "If we can get a bunch of people to actually commit to buying local . . . it's going to save us all money, it's going to be better food, a lot of it's going to be organic, and we're supporting our Vermont farmers. We should be buying local."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Tea and my spices . . . I love nuts, so I'm going to have to not eat nut butter."

NAME: Larry Hamilton (along with wife Linda)

TOWN: Charlotte

AGE: 81

OCCUPATION: Retired university professor

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "We have been inspired by the Earth Institute discussion groups that we've been participating in for three years. We have a Charlotte sustainable-living network here that has been promoting "eat local." Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, and I guess Bill McKibben started it, too. A lot of things have come together."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Orange juice is going to be a hard one, or cranberry juice, both of which we drink a lot of."

NAME:Deirdre Holmes

TOWN: Charlotte

AGE: 37

OCCUPATION: Holistic health counselor

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "Numerous reasons, really. For the human health benefit, I think local is the freshest and the healthiest you can eat. I also think it's the healthiest for the local economy and healthiest for the environment near and far." Deirdre and her kids just moved to Vermont from Brooklyn, New York, and notes that her family is "also enjoying this as a theme for the month of August to get to know our new home better."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "A couple of things. Black tea I will certainly miss, as well as tropical fruits -- lemons, bananas -- and olives and olive oil . . .What I'm looking for is an organic dairy farmer I can buy milk from directly."

NAME: Laura J. Schutz

TOWN: Essex Junction

AGE: 26


WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "Because I think that supporting local agriculture is good for the environment and local economy. By taking the challenge for the month of August, I'm hoping that it will force me to explore the local food sources in more detail and will create some lasting habits."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Chocolate. I'm also going to need to be very prepared so that I have plenty of local food with me at work, so I can avoid the afternoon munchies and vending machines. I've also decided that I'm still going to use Gatorade and Gu gels while I'm exercising, since I'm training for some distance runs this fall and am a little hesitant to experiment with other means of replenishing fuel and electrolytes mid-workout."

NAME: Angela McGregor

TOWN: Burlington

AGE: 27

OCCUPATION: Educator with Shelburne Farms Sustainable Schools Project

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "Having access to local food is essentially why I moved to Vermont [from California]. I'm taking a month to really push this relationship I've already been developing for the past few years . . .The idea of really being connected to seasons is the first thing, and to be connected to those who grow my food. There's something about it that's hard to describe, exactly, but it just feels good. It makes me probably happier than anything else I can think of."

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Sugar and chocolate. That's all I've been talking about. I don't know what kind of person I'm going to be around others if I'm not eating chocolate."

NAME: Mandy Fischer

TOWN: Burlington

AGE: 29

OCCUPATION: Works at the Intervale Center

WHY DOING LOCALVORE: "I've been interested in the politics of food production and moved to Vermont [from Chicago] to work in sustainable agriculture. I . . . try to eat as locally as possible just in my everyday life, and feel very lucky to live in a place where it's possible to have a diet that's 95 percent local. I see [the eat-local challenge] as a celebration of that . . . or just a celebration of local food, and the bounty of the harvest we have in Vermont,"

HARDEST TO GIVE UP: "Sugar. It's just in a lot of things, and even if you don't intentionally eat it, you do. It's going to be hard not to have a piece of chocolate. That's really what it is. It's chocolate."

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About The Author

Erik Esckilsen

Erik Esckilsen

Erik Esckilsen is a contributing writer for Seven Days and Kids Vermont. He is also a professor of rhetoric and digital storytelling at Champlain College.


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