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Islanders challenged to eat only local produce for a week

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ISLANDERS are being challenged to consume only local produce for an entire week as part of an event that is being backed by a number of local businesses.

Bethan Watkins (21), the organiser of the Jersey Local Food Challenge

Bethan Watkins came up with the idea after travelling through the Hawaiian Islands and seeing how the local communities there work the land and celebrate local produce.

The 21-year-old, who works at Greencliff Equestrian Centre in St Martin, said that she particularly developed her ideas about eating more locally sourced and nutritious food while working at a bee sanctuary in the Pacific Ocean island chain.

The Jersey Local Food Challenge, which is due to run from 13 to 19 August, will see participating Islanders adjust their diet for one week to make as much of their diet local as possible, whether it is grown, caught, reared, brewed, baked or crafted. Miss Watkins said that she would allow herself one ‘trade item’ from outside the Island during the week – olive oil – but participants could try to adjust their diets to local produce at whatever level they were comfortable with.

She added that she was planning to involve local growers, fishermen and supermarkets in the challenge to help educate Islanders on how they could eat locally sourced food more frequently.

‘I wanted to bring the challenge to Jersey to make others more aware of the journey their food has taken and how much better local produce can be for them and for the Island,’ she said.

‘The fresher our food, the more nutritional value it has, not to mention that the taste is far superior. I’m hoping that this challenge could become an annual event for Jersey, one that could maybe see us celebrate local food with a produce market at the end of the challenge. For now, though, I’m focused on making people aware what is available locally and what they are able to grow on our land.’

John Garton, the chief executive of Genuine Jersey, which promotes the Island’s produce, said that it was ‘wonderful’ to see people like Miss Watkins exploring the benefits of eating locally.

‘We hope that many Islanders will join her for this one-week challenge,’ he said.

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‘Genuine Jersey are proud to support this initiative, encouraging our members to highlight the huge variety of local produce that is available to grow, buy, eat and drink, in association with the challenge.

‘Bethan’s objectives are very much aligned to those of Genuine Jersey and we can’t wait to see the impact a fresh young voice has on promoting the fantastic produce our Island has to offer.’

A number of local food outlets, including Samphire, Nude Food, Wild Health, Moo, La Bastille, JB’s Brewhouse and the Portelet Bay Café, are supporting the challenge and are offering local dishes on their menus during the week.

More details about the event can be found on the Jersey Local Food Challenge 2018 Facebook page.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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