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100 Miles to Healthy

December 7, 2012

By Brittany Stowasser

What if being healthy was as simple as eating of everything you could put your hands on that is produced locally -say, within a 100 mile radius? Seems easy, right?

What is local? It’s funny that we even have to pose that question. The reason why “local” even needs to be redefined is because for awhile we really got away from it, let’s be honest. Convenience is a huge factor. I used to manage a well- known bank inside of a well-known grocery store with the worlds most well-known coffee shop inside of it. I get this. We are busy and if we can check our bank accounts while grocery shopping and perusing the aisles with a cup of joe in our hand, we will do it! Americans are, in my opinion the Kings and Queens of multi-tasking!

So let’s define “local.” It seems “local” is the new buzz word these days. In general “local” just means in the immediate area. Gone are the days where mom and pop had too many tomatoes and so they loaded the truck up and went curbside to sell, or are they?

Yet now there is pride attached to the word local that excludes your big-box retailers. Local means independent. Power to the people! Free yourselves of being stuck buying boxed goods with expiration dates three years from now and grainy-tasting tomatoes! Ask what’s available based on how it’s grown and the season. BUY LOCAL! Wahoo! OK…so now we are (hopefully) on the locally ran train…what now?

In 2005 James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, a couple living in Vancouver, British Columbia, set out to seek the answer. They decided to limit themselves to eating foods no further than 100 miles from their home, purchasing only from local farmers and markets of the like.  They documented the experience in the book “Plenty:  One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally.” The 100 mile Diet

Unlike a lot of diets this one doesn’t really have any hard and fast rules. You could try it for one day, one week or one month. According to CNN, supermarket produce items are typically transported 1,300 miles before reaching grocery stores. This uses up a ton of fuel annually. Not to mention that buying the tomatoes from mom and pop on the truck helps stimulate the local economy which in turn keeps them in business!

The disadvantages are that if you live in a huge city, eating just from local farmers might be a little more difficult. And it also could mean eliminating whole categories such as coffee, chocolate, spices or salt (depending on how serious the individual is about all things being local of course) and any produce items not in season.

Alright, now come back I know a lot of you stopped at no coffee. The good news is, we live in an area that has an abundance of local products, including coffee! Wahoo!

whiteradishesThe Wild Ramp has 2 circles: 100 miles of Huntington and 250. The federal definition of local in the green (wet) area of the country is 100 miles and 250 is used in the drier area out west. The WR tries to find products within 100 miles yet will go to the 250 mile radius need be. What’s available right now? We have carrots, arugula, white radishesand bok choy today from Nonis high tunnel! BokChoySweet

We also had some broccoli from Sammy Steamer on Tuesday but it was sold out on Wednesday.  So, even in the winter, because we have farmers who have installed and planted in high tunnels, we have fresh vegetables!!! Located in Huntington at Heritage Station Shops, we have everything you need to venture into the 100 mile (or close to it) lifestyle! Let’s get back to Local!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2012 2:30 pm

    Great post! I’m all for going local. I’m going to check this book out! Did the recipe book go on sale yet? If so, how do I buy one. Joe

    • December 7, 2012 2:32 pm

      The cookbook will arrive today in time for our market event tomorrow and sales for the holidays!! So excited!!

  2. Sydney permalink
    December 7, 2012 2:58 pm

    Another great book is Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” It’s a funny and informative look back on the year she and her family spent attempting to eat local and grow a lot of their own food.

    • December 7, 2012 3:25 pm

      Yes, I’ve written about that book here on the blog and how it started my whole search for local foods. I was SO glad when I heard that the Wild Ramp was being organized that I jumped on board to help as much as I could!

  3. December 7, 2012 8:46 pm

    Thought through my purchases and it seems two things I buy outside the 100 mile radius are oranges and tea…. just can’t seem to do without ’em. But then I don’t think we have to be fanatics about any of this. 😉 On second thought, there’s other stuff that comes from California – but that’s not too much past the 100 miles.

  4. December 7, 2012 11:17 pm

    The book was only called “Plenty” in the US; elsewhere it was called “100 Mile diet”, as your picture demonstrates. I live within the 100 mile circle that Alisa and James drew for themselves, not far from where they sourced their flour in the end. They made a TV “reality” series out of the concept a couple of years ago, for the Food Network: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p44gSVHynOI
    which shows just how challenging this can be to do “hard-core”. Anyone who has tried the 100 mile diet or just called themselves locavores, has come up against dilemmas almost right away – coffee and chocolate are obvious, but what about baking soda, yeast, vinegar, sugar (if you cooked with honey the way most of cook with sugar, you’d be spending a fortune on local honey). Salt. It’s a great thought process to put yourself through and I did it with my family for a week – which we didn’t really survive. It was an eye opener for a family that thought we were pretty much already locavores!

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