By Larry Hogard

The first 2 categories in the Climate Idols Challenge, Energy and Transportation, are completed and now the third sustainability challenge presented to the Climate Idols in Thunder Bay and Duluth is in the area of food.

The challenge was officially launched in Thunder Bay on June 30 at The Green House/True North Community Co-operative and The Bean Fiend Café.
Challengers were introduced into the world of gardening by Kelsey Johansen from EarthWise Thunder Bay. Catherine Schwartz-Mendez, from The Thunder Bay District Health Unit and The Food Action Network, spoke about the Get Fresh Guide. The guide highlights local food producers and restaurants. Joseph LeBlanc, co-chair of True North discussed composting with worms using an indoor composter and then the challengers and sponsors were treated to a locally produced meal at The Bean Fiend Cafe.

The food challenge is divided into 4 categories. The first challenge is Eat Local. Most food purchased in Thunder Bay has traveled hundreds, but more often, thousands of kilometres to reach local grocery store shelves. This leaves a massive carbon footprint on our planet and it is an unsustainable practice. Idols are challenged to consider the environmental impact of this idea and try to seek out local alternative resources to purchasing food and supporting a local diet. Challengers will have to discover where local food can be purchased through farms, farmers’ markets and retailers, as well as recognizing and choosing healthier and more sustainably produced food such as organic, seasonal and low waste.

Challenge # 2 is Climate Smart Cooking. At least 3 “climate smart” menus will be posted by each challenger on the Climate Idols’ blog and at least 1 meal will be prepared as a family on 3 different occasions.

The 3rd challenge is attending a local cooking and/or preserving class. After participating in the class, challengers can share their experience on the blog.

The last challenge is growing a garden or planter and sharing on the blog what resources were used to start and maintain their ‘green thumb’ experience.
After the Food Challenge is over, the last of 4 challenges presented to the Idols will be Lifestyle.

The Climate Idols’ experiences to live a more sustainable life can be followed on the Climate Idols Blog at