Forget Paleo and Atkins, vegetarian and vegan, and discover what it means to be “Aquidneck-ian” for ten days this September.

New food organization Aquidneck Community Table – which in March united the Aquidneck Growers’ Market, Sustainable Aquidneck, and Island Commons Food Initiative – is launching a new diet this fall: ten days of hyper-local eating. Participants have two challenges to choose from: either go “all-in” and eat onlyfood and drink grown or raised on Aquidneck Island or caught in Narragansett Bay, or incorporate at least one item from the island in every meal. Yes, for those hard core enough to try the former, this means (temporarily) giving up coffee and chocolate.

Participants will be supported with resources such as recipes, shopping lists, a local food map, and priority access to limited local food products at the farmers’ market. A new product created for the Food Challenge is butter from Middletown’s Simmons Farm – Food Challenge organizers requested it when they realized no oil or fat for cooking was being produced on the island.

“If nothing else, we’ve already helped to launch a butter business,” laughs Aquidneck Community Table Project Director Bevan Linsley. “But this is exactly the point of the Food Challenge – it’s a critical opportunity for our community to learn what kinds of foods our island is currently producing, and what we need to support a thriving local food ecosystem in the future.”

Events will take place throughout the ten days: a tea and medicinal herb workshop led by Sarah Berkman of Gather, a foraging walk led by local chef Jonah Gadoury, and a presentation on locally abundant seafood led by fisherman Luke Wheeler of Tallman & Mac. The Food Challenge will culminate on September 10th with a Harvest Festival at the Great Friends Meeting House, home to Aquidneck Community Table’s community gardens.

“Think of it as a stay-cation for your stomach,” says Food Challenge organizer Liza Burkin. “We live in a broken food system, and this is a fun way to explore some ways that we might fix it.”

Join Aquidneck Community Table in celebrating the abundance of the harvest season and the bounty of our island by participating in the first-ever Aquidneck Food Challenge. You can sign up at:

This story was originally posted on August 15, 2016.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).