Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Hundred Mile Diet

Never thought I'd say it, but I've found a diet I can fully endorse.

Fellow Vancouverites Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon are halfway through their one-year committment to the Hundred-mile Diet. No, it has nothing to do with the town named for the hundredth mile on the gold rush trail (my mom, whose parents dragged her city-girl ass up there "to homestead" half way through her grade 12 year, has another name for that diet. It's called bitterness.)

But I digress. Smith and MacKinnon's diet is based around a vow "to live with the rhythms of the land as our ancestors did." For one year (they started with the spring solstice in 2005) they are only consuming food and drink produced within 100 miles of their home in Vancouver.
This may sound like a lunatic Luddite scheme, but we had our reasons. The short form would be: fossil fuels bad. For the average American meal (and we assume the average Canadian meal is similar), World Watch reports that the ingredients typically travel between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometres, a 25 percent increase from 1980 alone. This average meal uses up to 17 times more petroleum products, and increases carbon dioxide emissions by the same amount, compared to an entirely local meal.
Their ongoing account is a thought-provoking and fascinating read. Their struggles (Does locally-milled wheat made from wheat grown on the Prairies "count"? How are we going to get through the winter?) and triumphs make for inspiring reading. It's humbling. And wish I could at least give up the evil banana.


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