April 18, 2007

the 100-mile diet

i am going to start off by saying that this is a fantastic book. vancouver writers alisa smith and j.b. mackinnon documented their year-long experiment into local eating. local for them was defined as 100 miles from vancouver bc, which meant produce in season from the fertile fraser valley, to the shores off vancouver island for seafood.

what became difficult they soon realized, no wheat. no farms west of the rockies grow any type of wheat. however they did come upon a farmer who had tried on a trial basis. he welcomed them to what he had in storage. they were so desperate to have wheat that they ground it into flour themselves.

this book takes you on a journey through local history, food politics, sustainability, relationships to place, all with a very light-hearted tone. from the moment i picked it up i did not put it down until i finished later that evening. highly recommended.
there is a link to their website under our resources links to the right.


Jodi said...

I have recently become interested in only eating food within one's region, but I didn't know about this book.

Thanks so much for the recommendation; I am off to order it right now.

tracy said...

i must read this. (wonder if my library has it yet?) the idea so appeals to me. (and would like be quite enjoyable down here! the only thing i wonder about is coffee...) i have noticed that is has inspired spin-offs such as 100 mile manitoba etc. thanks cindy!

Liz said...

They are such an inspirational couple.

At the Eat Local Challenge group blog, we've been taking part in 100 mile month-long challenges since Aug. '05. But once you start incorporating local eating into your diet, it becomes hard to go back. :)

Some of us are setting out to prove that eating locally can be done on a budget (in response to charges that eating locally is "elitist") next week... it's called the Pennywise Eat Local Challenge people from all over the US will be participating, from Maine to California. Anyone can join in the fun and "play along" on their own blogs!

Also, I'll be hosting an easy 100-mile challenge called One Local Summer on my blog this summer.... the goal is to eat one completely local dinner each week of the summer. It's a great way for people to explore local eating in a wicked abundant time of the year!

Lins said...

Great post, but I think you mean no wheat WEST of the Rockies. Vancouver is on the West Coast, the prairies sit to the east.

this single spark said...

There's an interview with the authors here:

I'm no where near eating that local, but more and more, it factors in when I'm making choices. Not just with food, but cosmetics, clothing... Really looking forward to reading their book!

Daphne said...

I don't understand the "west of the Rockies" thing either -- there's tons of wheat grown in Eastern Washington in the Palouse region (and probably E. Oregon). Now, that's more than 100 miles from Seattle or Vancouver, so still, no wheat.

I'm glad eating local is taking off though. It's amazing to think that 90% of the energy of food is oil, bringing food to me. Last weekend, I drove up to the tulip festival and had much greater appreciation for farmer's markets. The farms in Skagit Valley are near to me, but still a haul.

laura said...

What a fantastic idea, thanks for the recommendation!

cindy said...

oops sorry! i'll blame the east of the rockies on my pregnancy brain.
thanks for pointing it out, i'll change that right now.
it's really encouraging that so many people are into this, and yes it has to be within reason of most people's budgets.
we are starting small in our family, growing our own produce and protein like beans.
i'm indian and eat a lot of basmati rice. i know they grow it in california, but is there anywhere else closer? that's my main problem right now.

cally said...

I try to eat local in general but thanks for a good reminder - I've been eating grapefruit all week, oops! Spring is tough in Scotland but we get wonderful fruit in summer and autumn.

I also liked the links in Liz's comment, and the idea of people trying a local meal once a week, sometimes little starts like that can unearth great local buys that become habits.

Marnie said...

This is so intriguing - I'd love to try it! Has anybody heard of any 100-mile vegetarians in places that have long winters, like us in Toronto? Vancouver is a lot warmer than Toronto, and even if we added something like fish, the freshwater fish in Ontario are mostly mercury contaminated...sorry to be so pessimistic!