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Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - The 100 Mile Diet

It was a no-brainer for me to participate in Blog Action Day. You can read more about it at www.blogactionday.org.

Being a small, local, organic farmer means that buying and eating locally is pretty important to our family. My contribution to Blog Action Day is to challenge readers to attempt the 100-mile diet. It's not a 'diet' really, but a way of life that makes you think on a daily basis about where everything you eat comes from.

There have been many articles about people who have attempted this venture. Our family has yet to try it, but we have talked about it and plan to give it a whirl sometime in the future. Lucky for us, we already try as much as possible to implement this and accomplish it by growing and eating a large portion of our own food. We raise our own animals, grow all our vegetables, can/store what we can't use right away, for use over the winter and buy a lot of food from other local farmers in our area.

The idea is that for a specified amount of time, two weeks, a month, 6 months or even a year, you do not consume any food or drink that is grown or processed more than 100 miles from your home. The mileage could be arbitrary too, you could say no more than 50 miles from your home, just as easily.

Until you sit down and think about all your food and where it actually came from, does the magnitute of this start to set in. It forces you to search out your local food sources and discover the art of buying local.

Most people I have read about that have attempted this, give each family member 1 free-choice, such as coffee (unless you live in Columbia!), chocolate, sugar, etc. Otherwise, they just decided to do without those things for the specified amount of time.

Automatically, this does away with almost all the stuff on the shelves of your local grocery store. No more packaged food, no more chips, pop, hamburger from God knows where......it really makes you take a good long look at food as we know it.

Most people would write this off as impossible, they would say they didn't have time to search out local food or if they were honest, they wouldn't know how to cook dinner without the help of packaged food. But, if anyone is interested, do some research on this subject and look at the statistics of the money that could be saved on fuel costs alone. Can you imagine not having to ship food from California to New York? Can you imagine if people would learn to eat what was in season and local and not depend on going to the grocery store and buying those strawberries that were just shipped in from California in February? Yes, it would be inconvenient and would require a lot of planning, but it can be done. Maybe you would have to learn how to do without some things until the season came back, but it can be done.

When you add up all the savings to the environment if we all ate locally, not to mention what it would do for all the small farmers in your area, isn't it worth a try?

Do some research on the subject, sit down and talk to your family about what it would mean to you to give it a try. What are some changes you would have to make and things you would have to live without? Teach your kids where REAL food comes from and ask them what they would do if they couldn't just go to Walmart and buy a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner or drive through McDonalds for lunch. Get your kids thinking about the future of food and how it relates to their health and the health of this planet. You will be amazed at what your kids think is real food.

Give it a try and if you don't mind, let me know how the conversation went, I would love to hear feedback.

Think globally, eat locally.

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