Category Archives: Lilly Thompson

Reflections on my Eat Local week

What have I learned from the Eat Local Challenge? Well, it’s just that: a challenge. I found that keeping a positive attitude helped me get through the week, even when I was feeling discouraged. I learned that, even in a place like Burlington, which seems to have a lot of alternative food choices, not everyone can afford to eat locally (both for money reasons and access reasons, as well as time reasons). From an on campus perspective, eating locally proved to have its challenges, but, for me, it really had more benefits than setbacks.

For once in my life I felt like my food choices were directly benefiting my health as well as the local economy and environment. The challenge also introduced me to new foods, caused me to be more creative with the meals I was eating, and made me actually think about what I was consuming. If nothing else, the challenge acted as an eye-opener to my eating habits. You know when there are things you really want to try, but never actually do, or maybe it just takes a little push to get you to try it? Eating locally was like that for me. I found the Eat Local Challenge gave me the little push I needed to experience eating completely locally and because I’ve now experienced it, I’ll always incorporate some aspect of eating locally into my diet.

Since doing this project, I’ve caught myself reading food packages more often to find out where it was produced. The other day, I noticed the Marketplace in the Davis Center sells Madhouse Munchies, which are made right in South Burlington. I also realized that Alice’s Café sells the equivalent of Madhouse Munchies but they’re from Texas. Because I eat more regularly from Alice’s, I decided to buy extra bags of Madhouse Munchies from the Marketplace so I could bring them to Alice’s and eat them with my sandwich, thereby preventing myself from buying the chips from Texas. I think it’s the little things like this that really showcase the benefits of finally taking the plunge and trying to eat locally. If more people were more aware of where their food comes from, I think they would be more likely to choose the more local product, just like I did.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Lilly Thompson


If only there were more hours in the day

Okay, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that about 99% of all college students have irregular eating patterns. With classes everyday and hours of homework and studying to get done outside of class, we just aren’t able to eat exactly the way we want or should be eating. Taking on the Eat Local Challenge has made me well aware of this. In a perfect world, I would eat locally all the time, but with my tight schedule, I’ve found that time is the biggest factor keeping me from becoming a full-time locavore. For instance, the two cons I have for eating locally are both time-related; I didn’t have time to prepare meals everyday and I didn’t have time to go shopping more than once during the week.

photo taken from here.

While I normally depend on outside sources to provide me with quick and easy food choices to keep me going between classes and on study breaks, I quickly learned that eating locally focused a lot of that dependence on myself. Getting up just in time to make it to class suddenly didn’t cut it anymore; what was I going to eat for lunch? Or snack on between classes? If I didn’t make the time to pack meals for myself, I suddenly was stuck going all day with no food. Maybe in the perfect world I mentioned before, there would be convenient places to buy local foods and help sustain a local diet.

Although I definitely depended on myself a lot more for meals, I also depended on City Market to provide the local foods I needed. With a limited amount of time in my schedule to go shopping downtown, I was only able to shop once, which limited the foods I ate significantly. By midweek I started getting sick of eating granola and applesauce for breakfast and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. Had I enough time to fit in a trip downtown, I could have stocked up on more fresh produce and looked for a greater variety of foods to eat. As my food supply dwindled as the week wore on, I found myself either skipping out on meals or significantly cutting down on my food intake; sometimes only eating an apple for dinner!

With these drastic cuts in my diet and changes in my schedule, I can’t help but wonder if maybe eating locally is just not sustainable.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Lilly Thompson


Attempting to cook on campus

My Eat Local week started out very strong; with shelves full of local foods, I don’t think I’ve had so much delicious and nutritious food options right in my dorm room. Because I didn’t have any consistent access to a kitchen, I planned my meals around foods that didn’t involve a whole lot of cooking. Luckily, my friend Hannah gave me access to the fully stocked kitchen in her dorm building for the cooking I did have to do. In particular, baking the pumpkin I had picked up.

Prior to my Eat Local week, I had only ever seen my mom bake pumpkin; I hadn’t actually done it myself. I decided to give her a call and use her as a reference. She told me to cut the pumpkin in half, take out all the insides, and bake it on a cookie sheet at 350˚ for approximately 30 to 45 minutes or until the pumpkin starts to sink in. I prepared the pumpkin, added pumpkin seeds to the tray, and baked it just as my mom had instructed. The results? Great pumpkin filling that could be eaten with other foods or on its own, along with a ton of crispy pumpkin seeds that provided me with a snack throughout the week. I found that adding some honey to the pumpkin gave it a little added sweetness and the mixture worked well in making sandwiches out of the bagels I bought.

Another food that required some cooking was the wheatberries. I had never tried them before, so I searched the internet for some tips on how to prepare and cook them. Most of the sites I found recommended soaking them in water overnight before cooking, however, I didn’t plan ahead enough to make that happen. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the kitchen for making the wheatberries, so I attempted to make them in a microwave. Just a little advice: don’t make them in a microwave. It may seem like a clever idea seeming as how wheatberries can take up to an hour to cook on a stove, but don’t be fooled; wheatberries aren’t the type of food that is almost instantly cooked in the microwave. It still takes a heck of a long time! Almost 30 minutes, to be exact. Because I was making them in a pretty small bowl, I cooked them in 3 or 4 minute intervals and had to keep adding water as it was being absorbed by the wheatberries. Though the process was tedious, I ended up making some great hot cereal out of them by adding some milk and maple syrup.

As the week wore on, I was both running out of ideas for meals and getting sick of eating the same things over and over.

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Lilly Thompson


My start to the Eat Local Challenge

Let me just begin by saying that I’m usually one to get overly excited about projects before I realize how much time/effort/work will need to be put in to actually succeed. Having said that, I was very excited to do the Eat Local Challenge. My mind was more set on how many good foods I could eat and less on how I would actually be able to convert my on-campus meal plan eating ways to a diet of all l

ocal food. Let’s be honest, UVM has a pretty good food program with lots of variety and options to fit many different diets; they also give us some local products to choose from! But when you get a hot meal at the dining hall or a prepared meal at a campus store like the Marche, there’s no real way of knowing whether the food you’re eating was grown, raised, or produced in Vermont. So, okay, if I were going to do this project right, I would have to get my food from a different source. With only a few places within walking distance to choose from, I decided to go with City Market.

Found on the City Market website at

After I gave myself enough time to prepare a tentative shopping list and mentally prepare myself for a week of no Arizona iced tea or rice (yikes!), I decided to start my Eat Local week on October 16th with a trip to City Market. I went into the store knowing that getting all local ingredients would heavily rely on access to a kitchen, which I didn’t have. Because of this, I decided to get as many purely local items as I could but also considered locally made bagels, bread, and applesauce, among others, to be considered local foods, though they probably contained ingredients that weren’t local. That being said, here’s the list of groceries I bought for the week:

–       Bag of spinach (for salad)

–       Carrots

–       1 Red pepper, 1 Orange pepper

–       1 Tomato

–       3 large apples

–       1 pumpkin

–       Cabot cheddar cheese

–       River Garden Kitchens of Vermont Maple vinaigrette dressing

–       Wheatberry (bulk section)

–       Fresh ground peanut butter

–       Vermont Bread Company whole grain bread

–       Morse Hillside Farm raspberry jam

–       Honey (bulk section)

–       Vermont Village organic peach applesauce

–       Granola (bulk section)

–       3 Burlington Bagel Bakery bagels

–       Monument Farms skim milk

–       Cold Hollow Cider Mill apple cider

My trip to the store cost me about $75, which wasn’t too bad for a week’s worth of food. However, the cost was added on top of the meal plan I had already paid for, so, if looked at that way, it ended up being pretty expensive. Just another benefit of living on-campus, I suppose. Ha-ha.

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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Lilly Thompson