I didn't think last week was a good one for me to undertake Local Matters' Eat Local Challenge. Then again, I'd probably never find a good week to do it.

I didn't think last week was a good one for me to undertake Local Matters' Eat Local Challenge. Then again, I'd probably never find a good week to do it.

That's kind of the point.

Eating local takes time, and time's one thing I can never seem to find. Most days I'm lucky if I spend 40 minutes buying, preparing and eating food. I eat fast, often poorly and never enough.

To eat local is to slow yourself down. To eat local is to think about your food, sit down and savor it. To eat local is to break bad habits.

I began my quest Sept. 14 expecting to barely meet the minimum three pledges. In less than a week, I nabbed five, rolling over several more than once.

Since July, the community garden I run in South Linden has been a fairly reliable produce section, so my first stop was to grab tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, beans and herbs.

This harvest was chopped regularly into salsa and salads - the cornerstones of my quest - and I rejoiced that I'd planted versatile garden crops. I didn't have everything I needed, but soon I enjoyed going elsewhere to find it.

My first stop was to Pearl Market for onions, salad greens and bread, then to the Market at 15th & High for some hot peppers. To really appreciate the beauty of a good market, watch the growers smile as they carefully bag up your stuff.

Once I had a base level of local food, it was easier than I thought to use it. I made sandwiches, salsas and salads. I remembered how much I enjoyed making dressing from scratch.

More importantly, I ate slower. I made lunch for a roommate. I handed out fresh vegetables to anyone who asked - and a few who didn't. I remembered why I struggled to put cow manure in my garden soil on a bitter day last autumn.

To be honest, I doubt if my quest made a dent on aggregate carbon expenditure or boosted the financial viability of family farming in Ohio. I doubt it did much good to anyone but me.