eat-localWhy eat local?

  • You'll be preserving our local food system.

  • You'll experience the amazing flavors of your area.

  • It's a fun way to learn where your food comes from – and an especially great teaching tool for kids!

  • You're already shopping the Co-op and farmers' markets, why not challenge yourself and share a larger experience of supporting local?

  • It's a great opportunity to keep a food journal.

What is local?

At YRGC we define "local" as from Wisconsin. You might choose to define local as a 100-mile radius from your home or even just foods from your back yard. However you calcuate the miles from farm to fork, it's your challenge to commit 4 weeks to being a locavore.

Four reasons to support local

1. Savor the flavor

Simply put, local foods taste better because they're fresher. Foods start to lose flavor and nutritional value as soon as they're harvested. Eating foods grown closer to home means they've traveled a shorter distance and arrive on our doorstep chock full of healthy nutrients.

2. Support our local economy

When you buy local products or shop at locally-owned businesses, more of the money stays right here in our community.

“If every Wisconsin household spends 10% of its food budget on locally produced foods, we will have a $2 billion impact on our state’s economy. Buying Wisconsin-grown products supports our state’s agriculture, farmers, producers, communities and economies,” said First Lady Jessica Doyle.

For every $100 you spend locally, be it your locally owned co-op, farmers’ market, or small business, $68 is retained in the local community. Compare that to spending the same amount at a chain supermarket or regional store where only $43 stays at home. By keeping your dollars close to home, you help ensure that your community remains financially independent and original.

  • $100 purchases made Online = no money stays in Stoughton

  • $100 purchases made at national chain = $43 stays in Stoughton

  • $100 purchases made at locally-owned store = $68 stays in Stoughton

  • Supporting and sustaining your local businesses and neighbors = PRICELESS

3. Save the environment

It's no secret that it takes a lot of fossil fuel to ship a tomato across the country. Shopping locally decreases energy use, period.

Just how far does most food travel to reach your plate? Most likely, much further than you realize. Check out these food mile facts about the long and winding journey non-local food travels from farm to fork:

  • Ten percent of all fossil fuel energy consumption in the United States is due to food processing, transportation, storage and preparation. (Horrigan, Leo, et al. 2002)

  • Processed food in the United States travels more than 1,300 miles on average to reach consumers. (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, 2008)

  • On average, produce travels more than 1,500 miles from the industrial farm to the plate. (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, 2008)

  • On average, an American meal usually consists of ingredients from five different countries. (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 2007)

  • Typically, food spends 7 to 14 days on trucks and in transit to reach American consumers. (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 2007)

  • Smaller family-owned farms typically reinvest more into the local economy by purchasing goods and services available within their region, rather than through large bulk distributors outside the region. (Worldwatch Institute, 2002)

4. Build relationships

Knowing where your food comes from enriches your mealtime experience and helps to develop relationships with the people that grow your food and make the things we eat.

Although “local” is a buzzword used by many retailers, YRGC cultivates relationships with local growers and producers, offering our shoppers a convenient connection to fresh and delicious food of the highest quality. The Eat Local, America! Challenge celebrates our dedication and commitment to local food for consumers and our suppliers.


A sample of menu ideas to Eat Local


  • Scrambled eggs from New Century Farms, a slice of Wildpeace Bakery toast topped with Rustlin’ Brook jam or Bee Guy honey and a glass of milk from Sassy Cow or Blue Marble Dairy
  • Sugar River vanilla yogurt topped with Wildpeace granola and watermelon from Wisconsin Amish farmers
  • On Sunday mornings, come to the Co-op for a Madison Sourdough chocolate or almond croissant and some fresh brewed coffee from  Just Coffee


  • Create your own sub from the YRGC salad bar using Madison Sourdough, Belmont’s sliced ham, Vern’s cheese, topped with vegetables
  • Make a fresh salad with a variety of salad greens and vegetables from YRGC’s local produce farmers
  • Make an egg salad sandwich with Wildpeace sandwich bread


  • Cheese curds from Rock Cheese Company
  • Yogurt smoothie from Blue Marble Dairy
  • Ice cream sandwich made with Wildpeace cookies and Sassy Cow ice cream – in YRGC's frozen section
  • East Shore Dipping Pretzels with Hawkwind Heat Mustard
  • Point Soda or Sprecher Root Beer


  • RP's pasta topped with DiSalvo’s sauce
  • Rah’s Porterhouse steak with rainbow chard from Sprouting Acres
  • Grass-fed beef burger from Wisconsin Meadows on a Natural Ovens bun with green beans from Sprouting Acres
  • Kinkoona Farm leg of lamb with roasted potatoes from Meadowview Farm
  • Stoddard’s brats, corn on the cob from Wisconsin Amish farmer and Pasture Pride baked cheese
  • Emil’s Pizza and a beer (New Glarus, Capital Brewery, Tyranena, Central Waters)

Then…spoil your dog or cat with some snacks from Tasha’s Love Treats!


  • The Wisconsin Eat Local Challenge was developed by a statewide team of community food group volunteers, organizations and university staff. It is designed to educate our community about the importance of buying locally grown and raised foods. More information is available on the Wisconsin Eat Local Challenge web site.

  • The Savor Wisconsin web site links you to Wisconsin food products and services. It includes listings for farmers’ markets, restaurants, food co-ops and specialty retail stores.

2009 Eat Local events

Local food producers discuss how they are changing the way America eats

FRESH-discussionYRGC kicked off its 2009 Eat Local, America! Challenge with screenings of FRESH the movie. The August 16 and 19 screenings featured discussions with local farmers. YRGC food producers and vendors who answered questions after the August 16 show included (left to right) Ron Paris of Sugar River Dairy, Dean Dicken of New Century Farm, Jim of Rah's Meats, and Trish and Bert Paris of Edelweiss Creamery and the Edelweiss Graziers Co-op. Meadowview Farm participated in the August 19 discusion.

Receptions featuring local foods were held at the Co-op before the film screenings. A documentary by filmmaker ana Sophia joanes, FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing this country’s food system.


Stoughton's first Local-motion featured 10 locally-owned food spots

To finish off our 2009 Eat Local, America! challenge in style, the Co-op organized Stoughton's Local-motion: An Eat Local Food Crawl. People enjoyed a leisurely Saturday crawling from fooderie to fooderie in downtown Stoughton where they sampled a range of local flavors dished up by 10 food establishments. The menu included:

  • The Yahara River Grocery Co-op, 229 E. Main, served a bruschetta sampler, featuring three seasonal veggie toppings – eggplant, fresh greens with tomato, and peppers with caramelized onions.

  • Fosdal Home Bakery at 243 E. Main, served a special, housemade pasty.

  • Gift and ice cream shop Montage, 217 S. 4th St., made root beer floats with Cedar Crest ice cream and Sprecher root beer.

  • Main Street Kitchen, 334 E. Main St., made a fresh zucchini and rosemary soup and also tomato pie.

  • Cheesers, the specialty cheese shop at 186 E. Main, served a Door County smoked salmon and whitefish spread sandwich with fontina cheese and bistro sauce on ciabatta bread.

  • All Through the House, a cooking specialties store at 160 E. Main St., had samples of Diamond Don's Sweet and Hot Mustard, a Stoughton-made product.

  • Sonny's Bar & Grill, 151 E. Main St., served Stoddard's brats (all the way from Cottage Grove) with buns from Stoughton's own Fosdal Home Bakery.

  • The Main Street Pour House at 121 E. Main, a craft-brew tavern made a Wisconsin beer cheese soup.

  • Also participating were Bella Roma Italian Bistro, 620 Nygaard Street, with an Italian beef sandwich, and Page Street Pizza, 971 N. Page St., with a homemade Italian sausage with a marinara sauce. Both were set up in booths on Main Street.

10 local food spots dish up tasty local treats at Stoughton's Local-motion

Some walked, some crawled and others road in their wagons at Stoughton's first Local-motion: An Eat Loca Crawl. Organized by the Co-op, the food crawl ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 12.

Bella Roma Italian Bistro set up shop on Main Street and served an Italian beef sandwich and roasted corn.


At the Co-op, crawlers enjoyed a bruschetta sampler, featuring three seasonal veggie toppings – eggplant, fresh greens with tomato, and peppers with caramelized onions -- on toasted baguettes from Madison Sourdough.

They also enjoyed the great sound of local musicians playing!

crawl-cheesers crawl-mustard

Cheesers served a Door County smoked salmon and whitefish spread with fontina cheese and bistro sauce on ciabatta bread (above left). Across the street at All Through the House, foodies sampled Diamond Don's Sweet and Hot Mustard, a Stoughton-made product.

Other local restaurants participating in Local-motion included Fosdal Home Bakery, Montage, Main Street Kitchen, Sonny's Bar & Grill, the Main Street Pour House and Page Street Pizza.