Day 1 – Food for Change Challenge

In support of World Food Day, Slow Food International is promoting the Food For Change Challenge. From October 16 – 22, 2018, I will be joining thousands of activists around the world to reduce CO2 emissions. I commit to 3 actions:

  • Go meatless for one week
  • Eat 100% local for one week
  • Zero food waste for one week

Join me on this journey! On An Italian Dish, I will be providing you with updates and recipes made from local, meatless ingredients. Today, October 16 is Day One, and I am pumped and ready to go.  Here are some rules and definitions I have set for myself:

Local – food 100% sourced from within 20 miles from home. (I confess – this morning, I bought some granola from San Francisco because the product is being discontinued. I wanted to have it one last time!). The good news is, I live in Sonoma County, California, so finding local ingredients is not too difficult. Tomorrow is our local farmers’ market, where I can buy directly from the producers.

Meat free –  I have been a vegetarian for many years, so this part of the challenge is fun and easy for me. I have been known to eat fish or seafood now and then, but for ethical and health reasons, meat is not a regular part of my diet. However, for many people, meat is the main source of protein and B vitamins in the diet. This Food For Change challenge is not asking those folks to give up meat completely, but take a week or a few days and give some thought to the role of meat in the diet. It is not necessary to give up all meat, perhaps eat less meat of higher quality. As stated by Slow Food International, “The livestock sector is one of the biggest culprits in greenhouse gas production. Animal farming generates 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere according to the FAO.”

You many have noticed that all of the dishes on this blog are meat free. There are myriad Italian dishes that are naturally vegetarian, like eggplant parmigiana, for instance. These are the recipes I love to share with you.

Reduce food waste to zero – According to the EPA program on food waste, “In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply.” From Slow Food International, “Every year in the European Union, about 90 million tonnes of food (179 kg per person) are wasted. Of this waste, 42% occurs at the household level and 39% in the manufacturing sector. ” Some solutions have been presented:

  • Reduce food waste by improving product development, storage, shopping/ordering, marketing, labeling, and cooking methods.
  • Recover food waste by connecting potential food donors to hunger relief organizations like food banks and pantries.
  • Recycle food waste to feed animals or to create compost, bioenergy and natural fertilizers.

I’m doing my part this week at the household level. This morning at the grocery store, I only bought what I planned to eat this week, and I didn’t go to the store hungry. It should be an interesting week…

My biggest challenge so far…
Coffee! This is a real dilemma because most coffee beans are sourced from South and Central America. The closest producer is Kona coffee from Hawaii, but that is still too far away. Not at all local. I tried to justify buying a cup of coffee from a local seller who is Fair Trade, but I just could not do it. I will be looking for a local coffee substitute this week. Sigh.
What is in this local box of yummies? From Whole Foods and Community Market in Santa Rosa, here is today’s bounty:

Day 1 fiveMutzu apples from Devoto in Sebastopol
Kale from New Family Farm in Sebastopol
Butterball potatoes, eggplant and Roma tomatoes from Live Oak Farm in Petaluma
Wildflower honey from Santa Rosa
Fennel from Soda Rock Farms in Healdsburg
Granola from Oat Cuisine in San Francisco
Summer squash from my neighbor, Debbie.
Artisan organic cheese from Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma.

I am so grateful to live in such a land of plenty. Here are some ideas. Please send me your ideas or ways that you eat local or meat free.

Crisp Apple and Fennel Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Enjoying local and in season.


  • 2 large, local apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced paper thin
  • local honey
  • wedge of hard cheese


  1. Any crisp apple will do. Core and slice and place in a bowl.
  2. Cut the bulb from fennel and slice paper thin. Add to bowl and stir.
  3. Drizzle with local wildflower honey.
  4. Serve with cheese cut into wedges.

Some resources and more information:

Reusing food scraps


2 thoughts

  1. Interesting timing – I just heard a news report about how much food is wasted when farmers grow more than they can sell and just leave it on the ground to rot. There must be a way to connect food banks, etc to such farmers.

    1. Hi Mr. Goodman. I agree. I talked to a checker at Trader Joe’s who told me that each night they donate food to the local food bank. I was very heartened to hear that.

Your comments are always welcome!