Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 44 and 45 – 100-mile diet : Finding allies

Following a wonderful comment left by Elle on my post a few weeks ago, I decided to go on a hunt for information on a little town called Vernon in British Columbia that has been doing something pretty amazing with the challenge!

On September 1st, 2009, this is what the Vernon Morning Star had to say :

People join the 100 Mile Diet Challenge

A challenge has been issued to the people of the North Okanagan – to eat mostly local food that has been produced or processed within a 100 mile radius of your home for 100 days.

This 100 Mile Diet Challenge has been issued by the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan (FASNO) in order to encourage people to see how local they can go.

People fearing that this 100 Mile Diet might mean an end to their morning cup of coffee can rest reassured. FASNO’s classification of local food includes food that is processed locally, such as coffee that has been roasted by companies based in the region.

“Buying locally produced food supports our farmers, but buying locally processed food is also good because it supports local businesses, and that benefits our community too,” said Mary Stockdale, one of the organizers of the challenge.

People are encouraged to join the diet at a level of local food consumption that is challenging but manageable.

“We have three levels at which the pledge can be taken: Gold, for people who will try to eat almost 100 per cent local food; Silver, for 75 per cent or more local food; and Bronze, for 50 per cent or more local food,” said Andrea Gunner, one of the organizers.

The diet will officially start on Monday, and will end 100 days later on Dec. 15.

“In the North Okanagan we are lucky to have a wonderful choice of food within our 100-mile radius, ranging from the Okanagan to the south, the West Kootenays to the west, Kamloops to the north and Merritt and Princeton to the west,” said Gunner.

The Interior Provincial Exhibition (IPE) in Armstrong is a strong supporter of this 100 Mile Diet Challenge. At the IPE grounds, the Centennial Theatre will be devoted to local food events Sept. 2 to 6, including local food tastings, films and presentations.

People are encouraged to visit the website: to find out more or to sign the 100 Mile Diet pledge online. They can also visit the Centennial Theatre during IPE week to ask questions and sign the pledge on paper.

Stockdale said there are many reasons to eat local food.

“It is much better for our health, better for the local economy and better for the environment,” she said. “Plus, fresh, seasonal, local food tastes really good.”

How inspiring! And I must admit I absolutely LOVE the Gold-Silver-Bronze system. We also love the importance of supporting local businesses that may have imported ingredients in their products, but still are produced locally which means jobs and a healthy local economy.

For us it is simple : During the growing season, you buy fresh veggies and fruits, eggs and meat (for my husband) from local farms to support our farming community. During the winter months, those same farmers live off processed foods they produce - preserves, salsas, meat based products such as, pâtés and potpies, dessert items – so encouraging them year round, even though their pâtés have salt or their jams have sugar, seems like an important step as well.

So my husband and I, who had been struggling with the idea of balancing imported, far away foods again after such an adventure, have decided to try and stay at Silver level after the challenge.

Thank you Elle for bringing this to our attention and making our transition after the challenge less of a scary one!


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