100 Mile Diet

Tara - posted on 09/05/2010 ( 34 moms have responded )




Could your family eat only foods from within 100 miles of your home? This was a show on Discovery, based on a book by a couple of Canadians. A number of families in the town of Mission BC participated in the show, It was interesting to watch and very enlightening when it came to looking in my own cupboards and fridge. I've decided that I am going to try to find things grown and produced locally and if not, I will try to find a local substitute before simply buying what is readily available.
The cost of food production, transportation of said food and the global impact it all has is enormous, our population is growing but our food production capabilities are going down due to over farming, over fertilization and mass production of cheap crops like corn for fuel and high fructose corn syrup.
Do you think eating locally would be hard for your family?


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Jenny - posted on 09/08/2010




I could get most but probably not all of my goods locally.

Wine is a must! I live in the Okanagan Valley and we have some of the top wineries in the world. I rarely buy foreign wine now, I feel like I'm cheating or something. And for beer I have Tree Brewing and Okanagan Springs blocks away from my house so I'm good there (mmm Okanagan Springs 1516 *drool*). We have lots of local spice and sauce makers so I'd be ok there too. Cherry Hill is a great coffee company but I don't know where the beans are from so that could be a problem. Lots of meat, veggies, fruit and veggies to be found. So it could be done but would take some effort.

LaCi - posted on 09/08/2010




Issues: Chocolate, Coffee, Sugar, Bananas, Coconuts.
Off the top of my head.

Petra - posted on 09/08/2010




Oh, I could never make it work - I live in northern Alberta and 8 months out of the year there is snow on the ground. Beef, eggs and milk would be doable, seasonal fruit & veggies (slim pickings though, all store-bought stuff comes from BC). The kicker would be coffee & spices. I can not and will not give up coffee and making my own salt, cumin, etc. is just not an option.

Lyndsay - posted on 09/07/2010




Pretty much everything I buy is manufactured close by. I live in a pretty populated part of Ontario so we have our own farms and factories for most things that can be made here. I don't eat foreign foods ever, even at restaurants, and I always buy locally grown produce (because its fresher).

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I followed the show and it tried to imagine myself following this 100 mile diet. I think it would be quite difficult to do 100%. However, I try to buy locally as much as I can. I do my part but budget and time are big factors in my choice not to go all the way.

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I guess we probably *could* do it. We already buy local produce, meat, eggs, milk, wine, juice, soda, honey, jams, and bread--that part is easy; it is all available at our local grocery stores. I do buy fresh produce in the summer and freeze/can it myself for the winter--we can get fresh in the winter here, but the prices are high and it is almost bad by the time it gets to us, so I just skip it.

It is the non-perishable stuff that gets me. Dried pasta, rice, and Campbell's Soup. I could get fresh pasta locally, but I prefer dried b/c it keeps for so long, I can cook just the amount I need, and it is cheap. I use A LOT of rice and Campbell's soup in my cooking. While they are not local products, I do always buy them from locally owned retailers, so I keep the money in our local economy to some extent.

Meghan - posted on 09/06/2010




I used to eat local meats (my ex's sister own a farm and butcher shop) and honestly I would prefer to buy local grown fruits and veggies to support the farmers, but I'm lazy-lets call a spade a spade. It is waaay easier to go to wal-mart or stupid store.

Barbara - posted on 09/06/2010




There's a book by Barbara Kingsolver called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which documents a year that she and her family spend living almost entirely off of locally sourced foods. It's a good book for anyone interested in this topic. And it has long descriptions of delicious food, which is nice to read whether you are interested in local food or not!

Johnny - posted on 09/06/2010




Exactly, I am happy to support local farming, but I am not interested in giving up coffee, chocolate & cooking oil (of any kind-particularly olive oil). And all the things made with wheat I am completely and totally unwilling to go without. No one takes away my pancakes!!

We do have local wine, beer & cider though, so that helps.

Isobel - posted on 09/06/2010




no olive oil, no salt or pepper, no tea (my GOD no tea), no chocolate...I think I could live...but not happily well...at least I'd have wine :)

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I live on a 55 (ish) square mile island..... I know we have meat here and some produce. Coffee (but I don't drink it)... I forget if they still have the dairy farm on island. Yeah, that's it. Everything else is shipped in from other islands or out of state, so..... no 100 mile diet for us. Not to mention, no farmers markets/local butchers take food stamps, so attempting to buy local isn't even a possibility for me at the moment.

Tara - posted on 09/06/2010




When you really start doing the research you might be surprised what is available locally, or at least within a less than 100 mile radius.
Sugar for instance can be made from maple trees; maple sugar. It's sweet and tasty and easy to make, all you need is heat.
Honey is another sweetener that is made locally almost everywhere.
Making bread takes some changes as yeast is hard to find locally, but if you can find local wheat and local beer, you can start a sour dough mother and continue to make bread from that mother for years if you choose.
I don't think anyone should ever go cold turkey like the experiment they did on Discovery but I think if we all started to look closely at where our food comes from and try to lessen our impact on the world by eating locally and making some sacrifices based on how our food habits are contributing to the global supply chain and the needless importing of foods that can be grown and produced locally.
In my opinion if you live somewhere that has a large cattle industry, than people locally should be purchasing the local meat only. Unless there is surplus, all grocery stores should be sourcing and purchasing locally produced food, before bringing it in from another area or country.
Anyhow, thoughts are all jumbly this morning, can't bother to proof read.... lol. so if this post is disjointed and hard to read, please excuse my muddled brain today. Lots on my mind.

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Crap...forgot about coffee. I suppose I could survive without. No bread either. But everything else we can get locally (though we'd be short a few luxuries).

But Sharon, you brought up a good point. I'm sitting here thinking and I *think* it would work in my case.

Local food I can get at a local grocer or farmer's market (both within 2 miles of my house): milk, ice cream, chicken, eggs, fruit (berries, peaches, pears, watermelon), veggies (all), nuts (pecans, peanuts).

Some local food I would have to go out of my way to get. But it can be stored long-term, so I can plan my trips for once or twice a year. Sugar, rice, beef and pork would fall into that category.

I'm not sure about cheese, but surely someone around here makes cheese. I'll do some research on that one.

Johnny - posted on 09/05/2010




Well, I suppose the cost of fuel would depend on how organized your local food system is. My fishmonger is on my way home from work, I just called when the catch was announced, reserved my fish, and picked it up on the way home. My meat comes in once a year to the farmer's market, we pick it up, split it with our friends, and it goes in the freezer for the year. Our eggs & chicken are brought to my hubby's work by his co-worker and then he just brings it home with him. The farmer's market is as close to my house as the grocery store. I can walk to both. That's where we get locally grown veggies and the other produce from around the province. The only thing I drive a way to pick up is my blueberries. Although we usually only go once every three years, because we split it with 3 families who each take turns. I do wish I had a local cheese source though. I eat a lot of cheese. We are a very cheesy family.

I will admit that I do have to run a medium-sized deep-freeze to accommodate it all. Before I started, I thought the canning would be a giant pain, but now I just do one thing a night after my daughter is in bed. It keeps it manageable. Although I did loose my beans this year because I ran out of time.

However, if you live rurally or in an area with a poorly developed local agricultural set-up, I could definitely see that driving around to each person's farm or ranch to pick up these things would probably not be economical. And if everyone was doing it, there would definitely be more fuel wasted than there is from importing all the food together and dropping it at a central location (supermarket) for everyone to get in one stop.

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010




We get oranges from the USA in coles here, when there are huge citrus farms down the road and about 500km away is the citrus capital. It's crap because they're probably 2 months old.

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Haha! Ya, that's right, Carol - it's about 50kms. Oh, and we sell blueberry honey too.....our beekeeper makes it for us from our blueberry blossoms. YUM!

Sharon - posted on 09/05/2010




the cost of gas to collect these foods would be astronomical. I COULD happily live on the foods produced locally. Local ranch that raises cattle, local ranch that raises ostrich even!, apple, pistachia, pecan, orchards, pumpkin patches... etc, we live in an incredible valley.

But the cost of preserving some of the foods and buying it in sufficient quantity to preserve so as to last through out the year would again be astronomical.

Its NOT feasible. I do buy stuff that gets trucked to the local farmers market when I can. But its held a friggen thursday when I'm normally working. hell, I work saturdays so it dosen't matter. I do miss it though.

Johnny - posted on 09/05/2010




I always start by seeking out local foods, but I would not plan to follow a strict 100 mile diet. That would elimate bread, rice, and in the winter, most fresh fruit and veggies, from our diet. We do get our beef from a local (more than 100 miles, but still comparatively local) organic rancher in bulk. We only buy locally harvested fish. Our chickens and eggs come from the farm of my husband's co-worker. In the summer, we have our own garden and I buy most of my vegetables from the farm down the hill. But in the winter, that which we can not can we do buy imported. Some of our stuff, like our meat, does come from within our province, but it is more than 100 miles away. Our peaches, nectarines, grapes, and apples come from the Okanagan, which is probably 250 miles. Our berries come from the valley where Dana ;) lives, which is maybe 25 miles (correct me if I'm wrong Dana). Our honey, teas, and many of our canned preserves come from my MIL in the Kootenays which is 500 miles(?-we use metric normally). Although since we visit her anyway, it's not really "imported". We can and freeze a lot of the summer's bounty, but I do think it is still important to eat fresh too, so I will continue to buy imported fruits & veggies when necessary. I don't plan to stop eating sandwiches or making rice, so I'll be buying those imported too.

I will say though, that buying local has actually ended up saving us money. The imported fruits and vegetables are always more expensive and buying our meat and fish in bulk is a huge savings. We just picked up 3 entire salmon for $30. At the store, farmed imported fillets are usually $8 for what would feed 2. Ditto for oysters. Not on my budget when imported, but buying them from the local farmer I can get a dozen for $4. Still a treat, but a bargain for a treat.

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Buying locally grown is actually cheaper and easier for most things where I live in regional Australia. We have a great climate suitable for farming a huge range of produce and animals. I buy most of my organic fruit, veges, meat, eggs, milk, honey from local farmers and other less available products I can source easily from local distributers of organic, Australian grown/made products. So even though the majority of our diet is probably made up of foods from within close to 100 miles (although i work with a metric system, so not 100% on the conversion), I do my best to ensure that most of the rest is made up of Australian produce where possible. I make occasional exceptions to this sometimes for products that are difficult/impossible to source locally/nationally but overall, if I had to restrict myself to this it would be a breeze for us.

Rosie - posted on 09/05/2010




i don't think it would be possible for me. i live in iowa very harsh winter, no growing anything here then. i wouldn't be able to have fresh fruits and veggies then. i do can and use frozen, but theres nothing like fresh asparagas, or fresh stawberries, or potatoes. just wouldn't be possible where i live.
i have been making an effort to buy locally, but in the winter it's just not possible.

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When we have more money to spare, I'd be willing to try it. We get our chicken, eggs, some seafood, and some veggies local. There's a place where I can get beef and pork close by, but you have to buy in bulk and we don't have the storage space at the moment. Sugar and rice would be easy to eat from local farms. Not sure about wheat and flour. Fruit would be harder to come by. We could eat tons of berries, but no apples or bananas.

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010




I'd have to eat coal and cotton and possible wheat and oranges. That's probably it.

Charlie - posted on 09/05/2010




Easy i live near loads of farms and wharfs where the fish is caught , im pretty sure i could get almost everything and i usually do buy veg and fruit , eggs locally anyway .

Jodi - posted on 09/05/2010




Easily. The city I live in is in rural Australia, and in fact, I can be in farming country in 5 minutes from my house. Admittedly, there would be some things I would miss, but there are many foods available here that are grown/bred locally. I actually already shop for fruit, veg and meat at the local markets, and have found they are MUCH fresher. Economically, it all lasts longer in my fridge because it is so fresh, so there is less waste :) I can't get everything at the markets, but I do my best. Then, anything else I buy, I try to purchase Australian owned and made, because I think we should support our own.

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YAY! Abbotsford is right next door to Mission, BC. Our blueberry farms are on the border of the two. Like Dana said, we could definitely manage to eat more locally but it would be much more expensive and that's just not in the budget right now. We do get our meat from a local butcher, eggs and most fruits and veggies as well. I LOVE BC!

Amie - posted on 09/05/2010




I don't think it would be that hard. We buy our meat locally from an organic farmer. We go to U pick places when we can.

There are some foods, like bananas, that are not grown locally and that my kids love.

Like Dana also there would be a lot of canned/ frozen veggies and fruit over the winter, which I just am not willing to do. While some of it may not be "fresh from being picked"; what I find in the store I do find is better then frozen most times and especially canned.

Dana - posted on 09/05/2010




It wouldn't necessarily be hard but, it would be a lot more expensive. I would also have to eat frozen veggies and fruits for the majority of the year and I wouldn't like that.

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