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Merri Schwartz Tells All…About Her Local Food Challenge!

August 16, 2013
We’re so glad to have Merri Schwartz, our founder and chair of the board, talk to us about why she’s doing the Local Food Challenge!
Chef Merri Schwartz
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Merri Schwartz, and I am lucky enough to be the chocolatier at East Van Roasters, a bean-to-bar chocolate shop in Gastown. I am also the founder and the chair of the board of Growing Chefs! Chefs for Children’s Urban Agriculture.
Why do you support Growing Chefs? 
I have no choice! Just kidding. I started Growing Chefs! and continue to work closely with the organization because I strongly believe in celebrating, enjoying, and exploring local food and the people who produce and prepare it for us. And I firmly believe in the ability of the chefs to engage with the community to help teach other people how to grow and cook their own food.
What does local mean to you?
To me, local means something I have a relationship with. Maybe I know the person who grew it. Maybe I am familiar with the place where the product was produced. Maybe I produced it myself! Maybe I am supporting an organization or a business I believe in by purchasing food from that source. Maybe I hear a great story about a producer or grower, and it connects to something in me that makes me want to experience that product. Whatever the situation, local means connecting with the food and products you consume.
Do you have any tips for Local Food Challenge participants?
Have fun! Eating locally can seem like a daunting task, but once you actually get down to it, it’s actually just an amazing experience. Every year I do the Local Food Challenge, I discover new foods, new producers, and new favourites all around me. Set parametres for the challenge that make sense for you and your family, and just enjoy it. Give yourself as many wildcards as you need to be comfortable, and take notes–it’s always interesting to review what you ate later.
If you would like to support Merri’s challenge, you can pledge or share her campaign!
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