A number of friends and acquaintances of mine are doing the full-blown 100 Mile Diet.
The 100 Mile Diet is a commitment to only eat foods that have been grown AND processed within 100 miles. Pretty much anything that grows in Manitoba, and doesn’t leave it before hitting the grocery shelves.
The purpose of this is many; basically I will sum it down to a few main parts. 1) Eating locally drastically decreases environmental damage 2) Eating locally aids in the pursuit of food justice (The way food is processed is important; a number of food processing methods and global market considerations hurts people in Canada and abroad in numerous ways, including economically and physically. By knowing where your food comes from, you can have more choice in how it was produced and who was hurt or helped).
Around 140 people have signed up for this challenge, which lasts 100 days. It’s about 40 days in, I think.
The impact of this challenge has been amazing. And not only on the participants – there have been a few really cool things which has happened.
1. People have become more aware. Not only those who have signed up for the challenge, but the media has caught on and spread the message. Additionally, a number of people have been asking local stores for certain items, or letting them know that they are unable to shop at their store for the whole 100 days. Grocery owners definitely take notice of these things.
2. I have seen this wonderful, calming change, and courage, in those who have signed up for the challenge. They are truly hard core, and I admire them a lot. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound easy. It is so intense. Everything which goes into a dish they need to ask questions about. They have had to put in so many hours of planning and work canning and preserving food in order to not starve throughout the 100 days. They have done this with much grace and respect to those who are not 100 mile dieters. In addition, they are so generous. I have been asked to a number of 100 mile meals, which blows me away, because the food availability that they can eat is relatively scarce. I would be tempted to hoard. But they do not.
3. I have changed. Their courage, and I do mean courage, has inspired me. I have also learned that I am not as hard-core local as I thought I was. I have become more aware of lots of issues. For example, lots of products which I thought were local really aren’t. “Made in Manitoba” merely means that the end process occurred in Manitoba – the ingredients aren’t necessarily 100% local, or local at all! It is very humbling to be asked to someone’s house for dinner, and not be able to find ANYTHING in my house which I can offer for the meal. I came close with Manitoba honey, but then found that it was slightly spiced with Moroccan cinnamon. Crap.
4. I truly believe, and this experience that I see my friends doing has re-enforced, that eating is truly a spiritual activity. I challenge everybody to truly consider this. Our bodies are temples, and we need to treat them as such. Monitor the crap that we put into it. Secondly, when we realize the impacts of what we eat has on other people, both far away and locally, eating becomes far more meaningful. I can’t express how meaningful those meals are that I have had with my 100 mile diet friends. The table takes on another dimension; one which is almost sacred. It deepens the conversation, and enriches the relationships around the table. Eating has become a spiritual movement of sorts. That’s awesome.
Thanks for reading.