Recently, I’ve become more aware of the environmental impact my food choices are having. Most times, I choose price and quality over ethics and sustainability. When faced with an organic, fairly-traded pineapple for $6 vs a lovely looking $2 pineapple, you can guess which one I choose. Being part of multiple locavore, slow food movements and buying local groups have called me to account for how my personal consumer habits are aiding in environmental destruction, loss of culturally unique food, unfair treatment of workers and pushing out smaller family-run farms in favour of huge corporation run farms.
While this is all stirring in my head, Food Network Canada wrapped up a series on the 100 Mile Diet. The two authors of the book, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon (www.100milediet.org) hosted a show about various families in Mission, B.C. who committed to eating locally for 100 days as part of the 100 Mile Challenge (http://100mile.foodtv.ca/). While my area of New Brunswick may not have the same amenities as Mission, British Columbia, it still has plenty of local food that will more than sustain me and my family.
So, I’m starting a challenge. Starting January 1st, 2011, my family and I will begin a 100 Day Challenge. I will already admit that I cannot adhere to it so strictly as to only eat locally for 100 Days, but my commitment is this:
75% is local
25% will be organized by: 1. Outside the local region, 2. Produced in Canada, 3. Produce in the US, 4. International
I’m pretty excited. In the few days of talking about it and chatting with my local health food store, I’ve realized how naive I was about my food that I thought could and should be local. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds? Product of China. The local mill that boasts how it works with local farmers? Well, it depends on the local growing season. Most times, grain is imported from the West or South America, without mentioning this on it’s package. I will blog about it and invite you to join me and my family in embracing this challenge, at whatever percentage works for you. I have no doubt it will be eye opening.