The 100-Mile Diet
Second to freshness at Fresh St. is the importance of local. We're always on the lookout for native growers who farm fresh, local products and practice sustainable farming standards to invite into our store. It's simple: we like good people who care about good food practices. So whether it be dairy from locals cows or fresh produce from the field of our very own Fraser Valley, we try to source everything locally.
Ingredients found in the average meal in North America travel 2,500 to 4,000 kilometres from farm to plate. It's hard to know where the wheat in your dinner bread was cultivated or where your frozen peas were harvested but one couple made it their mission to get familiar with the origins of their food and eat strictly local for one year. Thus, the 100-mile diet concept was born.
The original pioneers of the diet were Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon who relied on local grocers and farm markets for a diet restricted to include only foods grown and produced within a 100-mile radius of their apartment. At the end of their year-long journey eating local became a way to reconnect with their community, environment and well-being. Now, the 100-mile diet is gaining momentum and small North American towns like Powell River are pledging to eat ingredients only found within their locality.
Benefits to local eating:
· Boisterous, flavourful food. You may experience unique tastes more flavoursome than the mono-cultured produce found in many chain grocery stores.
· Weight loss. Restricting yourself to natural, locally grown foods (especially vegetables, fruits, and grains) and cutting down on prepackaged or processed foods will incidentally cause weight loss. Not to mention the physical and mental health benefits that follow.
· A smaller ecological footprint. Eating local cuts the abundant emission fuels emitted from the travel of average North American ingredients.
· Hyper awareness. You'll become aware of the kinds of foods grown within your region, meet the farmers and growers of your edibles and get tangible and lasting knowledge on where different types of food travel from.
· Community patronage. Supporting local farmers and markets puts money back into your community and reconnects you to the people and landscape that produces your food.
Tips for the 100-Mile (or similar) diet:
· Start simple. Whether it's inviting your neighbours over got a meal made entirely of food from your garden or going berry picking, there are countless small ways to explore eating 100-mile foods.
· Connect with local growers. Explore local farmers markets, participate in community supported agriculture or get together with a food co-op group. You'll have a much easier time finding the food you need if you're speaking personally to the producers of your groceries.
· Grow your own. Having a fruit, vegetable and herb garden in your backyard is an easy way to eat locally. You may surprise yourself with a green thumb or two!
· Buy bulk and preserve. Buying full flats of fruits or big bushels of veggies and preserving them through canning, jamming, pickling, and freezing is essential to sustain 100-mile foods throughout the year.
August is a great time to get started with the abundance of farmers markets and B.C. produce currently in season. Relax, take it slow and enjoy the fruits of your community's labour.
To learn more about the MacKinnons' journey and get tips visit this link.