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    In New Campaign, Coops Challenge Customers to Eat Local

    "Eat Local America" encourages local eating throughout summer months.

    Natural food co-ops throughout the nation will conduct a national "Eat Local Challenge" throughout the summer months, inviting individuals to try to consume 80 percent of their diets, or four out of every five meals, using food grown or produced locally.

    National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative based in Iowa City, Iowa and representing 109 retail food co-ops nationwide, is presenting the campaign, which begins June 15 and continues through Sept. 15.

    Although "local" is a buzzword used by many retailers, the NCGA maintains that its member natural food co-ops cultivate "truly reciprocal, long-term relationships with local growers and producers."

    Participating NCGA member stores will host Eat Local America challenges within their communities, encouraging individuals to visit their store, learn when their local challenge is taking place, commit to participate, and collect information on eating local foods. Because peak harvest time varies throughout the nation, the challenge duration may vary from a one-week to one-month period, according to NCGA.

    Most participating co-ops will conduct the challenge based on their region as follows:

    June 15 - July 15: South, Southwest, and California
    July 15 - Aug. 15: Plains, Midwest, and Northwest
    Aug. 15 - Sept. 15: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley, and Upper Midwest

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