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No rice is one thing, but no beer? This is going to be rough.

For one week, as part of Kanu Hawaii’s Eat Local Challenge, I’m trying to give up any foods and beverages with ingredients not grown here in the islands. I’m taking you with me — and asking for your help.

As Civil Beat’s Land reporter-host, I’ve covered agricultural issues and looked at how the aina is used. My first jobs in Hawaii were planting and picking hydroponic lettuce and growing and harvesting organic pink oyster mushrooms on Kauai’s verdant North Shore.

I’m not going to grow the food myself this time around. After all, now I live in a Honolulu apartment. Fortunately, Kanu and its partners actually make going local quite simple.

The week-long event was launched in 2009 as a way to effect positive change and make Hawaii’s food supply healthier, more sustainable and more secure. The idea is that we can change the world around us by bringing market forces to bear on providers. That’s the power all of us have as consumers.

Ten different restaurants, some of which are within walking distance of Civil Beat’s Kaimuki headquarters, are creating menu items with all local ingredients for the week of Sunday, Sept. 26, to Saturday, Oct. 2. Foodland Supermarket, where I generally do my grocery shopping, has designed an Eat Local menu that includes recipes and a shopping list, though not all their items fit into my goal of eating 100 percent local.1

Adding to my challenge is that I’m on a separate quest to limit my intake of mammals and poultry — a diet that could be called pescatarian if I were more religious about it. Is it possible to avoid meat and chicken — or even be a full vegetarian or vegan — and eat local? I’ll find out.

This blog will be a space to read about all my Eat Local experiences. I’ll share my successes and my failures, the lessons I learn. You’ll get to taste my recipes and review my grocery bills. I’ll take you with me to farmers markets and Eat Local events. And I’ll even reveal the results of my weigh-ins at the beginning and the end of the week.

Are you participating in the 2010 Eat Local Challenge? I hope you’ll share your experience here — below in the comments or by submitting photos to the blog. Even if you’re still grinding on imported food, please ask questions or give suggestions as I jump into becoming a locavore.

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  1. Full Disclosure: My girlfriend Korina, who’ll be joining me in my quest, is employed by the Sullivan Family of Companies, the parent organization for Foodland and other stores. Neither Sullivan nor Foodland will have any input into the content of this blog.

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