Constrain Yourself - The Story of One Man's Eat Local Challenge

I lead a very thrilling life. I get up at the same time every day, turn on the coffee, feed the animals, make the bed, and start breakfast: two breakfast burritos, almost every day. I get the same kind of eggs, butter, tortillas, and bacon from the same grocery store.

For the Eat Local Week Challenge, I decided that every burrito I eat would be filled with only locally sourced ingredients. (It might not sound like much, but consider that burritos comprise over 40% of the meals I eat in a typical week.) I'd have to figure out where to get eggs, bacon, squash, salsa, peppers, onions, bacon, and potatoes locally. I'd also have to make the most crucial component myself: the tortilla. Challenge accepted.

Here's why the Eat Local Week Challenge has been great: it's created constraints that have forced me out of my routine. I can't use the tortillas that I always get, nor the olive oil, eggs, and bacon. I can't go to the same store and cook the same meals. Most troubling, I can't hide my lousy cooking beneath thick ropes of Sriracha.

I may be able to go a week without Sriracha, but look: I need bacon and eggs every day in order to survive. So I've had to figure out where to get local eggs and bacon, and how to make my own tortillas. That lead me to figure out where to get local flour, and who sells local lard. I now know just how easy it is to make my own tortillas.

I'm sure we all have routines; they're comforting because they're familiar and safe. But going down the same paths over and over again create ruts that become ever harder to escape. Constraints push me out of these ruts. They've forced me to leave my comfort zone, to venture into new markets, to learn new skills. Some of the most interesting things I've ever done have come while constrained.

In this way, the Eat Local Week Challenge has been a really fun adventure, like a weeklong scavenger hunt, but for food. It's been a week of going to new stores, getting new things at the Harvest Market, and making foods I've never made before. It's been a whirlwind of excitement – for me, anyway.

mike lynch phot 7db9da54f24d6ac7c24ae750a2cb9f89Mike Lynch 
Community Program Director 
Wasatch Community Gardens

Mike Lynch is thrilled to be a member of the Wasatch Community Gardens' family. He is a Utah transplant, originally from Chicago, and finds the soil here dry, warm, and much to his liking. He has a degree in History from the University of Illinois. After graduating, Mike joined AmeriCorps for a year of national service as a crew leader for the Montana Conservation Corps. There, he engaged in community outreach and education, and discovered his passion for making strong, healthy, and sustainable communities. Most recently, Mike worked as a steward at the University of Utah's Edible Campus Gardens, which was a truly transformational experience. In his free time, Mike can be found cooking and dancing to Otis Redding.