I love the idea of this.. 100milechallenge.org. It started as 2 people that decided to eat local for one year after realizing that most of our food travels 1,500 miles before reaching our plates. They decided that they could only buy produce and meats within a 100 mile radius of their home all the while living in an apartment in Vancouver!! On this website they explained that some of the hardest things they had to give up for a year was olive oil, wheat and beer! Yikes, I’m not sure I could do that!!

After going through this website and having read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I thought it might be fun to create a challenge of my own. If anyone’s game and would like a more laid back version of the 100 mile challenge, (I honestly can’t do without Olive Oil and Beer) leave a comment. It would be fun to try something for a week or 2 and see what happens. I’m sure exciting recipes and new connections to our local farmers can come out of this!

Below are the Top 12 Reasons to eat local according to 100milechallenge.org

Why Eat Local?

Pig1. Taste the difference.

At a farmers’ market, most local produce has been picked inside of 24 hours. It comes to you ripe, fresh, and with its full flavor, unlike supermarket food that may have been picked weeks or months before. Close-to-home foods can also be bred for taste, rather than withstanding the abuse of shipping or industrial harvesting. Many of the foods we ate on the 100-Mile Diet were the best we’d ever had.

2. Know what you’re eating.

Buying food today is complicated. What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was that chicken free range or did it grow up in a box? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers. Many build relationships with farmers whom they trust. And when in doubt, they can drive out to the farms and see for themselves.

3. Meet your neighbors.

Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets have 10 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Join a community garden and you’ll actually meet the people you pass on the street.

4. Get in touch with the seasons.

When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember that cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and pancakes just make sense–a lot more sense than flavorless cherries from the other side of the world.

5. Discover new flavors.

Ever tried sunchokes? How about purslane, quail eggs, yerba mora, or tayberries? These are just a few of the new (to us) flavors we sampled over a year of local eating. Our local spot prawns, we learned, are tastier than popular tiger prawns. Even familiar foods were more interesting. Count the types of pear on offer at your supermarket. Maybe three? Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties–while more than 2,000 more have been lost in our rush to sameness .

6. Explore your home.

Visiting local farms is a way to be a tourist on your own home turf, with plenty of stops for snacks.

7. Save the world.

A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country. The ingredients for a typical British meal, sourced locally, traveled 66 times fewer “food miles.” Or we can just keep burning those fossil fuels and learn to live with global climate change, the fiercest hurricane seasons in history, wars over resources…

8. Support small farms.

We discovered that many people from all walks of life dream of working the land–maybe you do too. In areas with strong local markets, the family farm is reviving. That’s a whole lot better than the jobs at Wal-Mart and fast-food outlets that the globalized economy offers in North American towns.

9. Give back to the local economy.

A British study tracked how much of the money spent at a local food business stayed in the local economy, and how many times it was reinvested. The total value was almost twice the contribution of a dollar spent at a supermarket chain .

10. Be healthy.

Everyone wants to know whether the 100-Mile Diet worked as a weight-loss program. Well, yes, we lost a few pounds apiece. More importantly, though, we felt better than ever. We ate more vegetables and fewer processed products, sampled a wider variety of foods, and ate more fresh food at its nutritional peak. Eating from farmers’ markets and cooking from scratch, we never felt a need to count calories.

11. Create memories.

A friend of ours has a theory that a night spent making jam–or in his case, perogies–with friends will always be better a time than the latest Hollywood blockbuster. We’re convinced.

12. Have more fun while traveling.

Once you’re addicted to local eating, you’ll want to explore it wherever you go. On a trip to Mexico, earth-baked corn and hot-spiced sour oranges led us away from the resorts and into the small towns. Somewhere along the line, a mute magician gave us a free show over bowls of lime soup in a little cantina.

4 Responses to 12 Reasons to eat local, 100milechallenge.org

  1. Mama Podkayne says:

    We’ve been doing this for the last two years, casually. It’s not hard- you can find local beer wine and we replaced olive oil with lard, though now with your mayonnaise recipe- olive oil is a must have! ;) Sunflower oil is a good sub for a bunch of things though.

  2. Diana Bauman says:

    Sunflower oil, I do notice many Spanish recipes call for this though my fam uses Olive Oil exclusively. I’ll have to look into that! We have also been eating locally for about two years. Finding more and more as time goes by. I was thinking it would be fun (I’m wierd I know!) to try and go hardcore for a couple weeks besides some staples for me, (Olive Oil being one of them :) However, after Breakfast this morning, I’m kind of scared of the thought of that now! Only thing we ate that was local were eggs, milk and raw honey!! Whole Wheat Bread from PA, Driscoll Strawberries and Blackberries from California, California Navel Oranges, Tones Cinnamon. Well, I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I made bread and resorted to what fruit at this time of year??? LOL!!

  3. Abby says:

    Definitely won’t give up my olive oil, but we, too, try to eat as locally as possible. That is part of the goal with growing this year-to put up enough that we have local goods, especially our own, all year. This may be a good simulpost for the food blog. Not a recipe, but a good initiative for more local eating.

  4. Diana Bauman says:

    Good idea Abby, I just added it to the food blog!

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