Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The 100 mile challenge


I'm in Toronto this week on business and have been so amazed at the incredible diversity of food here. Just on one street, Danforth Road, there are about a zillion restaurants and pretty much any type of food you could possibly want. If the taxi drivers weren't so chatty, I might be able to get some good photos!

A while back, a Facebook friend sent me a link to something called the 100 Mile Challenge - an advert for a new show on the Food Network about a group of people trying to eat only food that comes from within 100 miles of their home for 100 days. Based on a growing phenomenon known as the Locavore movement, this "lifestyle" has all kinds of implications from environmental to dietary (I mean, really, WHY do we eat apples that come from New Zealand - no offense, New Zealand, I love you - when we have plenty of apples already?)

It was a new show. But it was on Food TV in Canada, not the USA. I was disappointed that I couldn't watch the show in The States, but glad I remembered to check it out when I crossed the border. It's the coolest reality show since Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days!

The participants are several families in a small town just outside of Vancouver, in British Columbia. It's an interesting group that includes a politician and his wife, a lesbian couple and their adopted teenager, a multi-generational family, a family with a child who has autism, a family that doesn't know how to cook, and a young family who seems divided on their commitments. Yep, it's an interesting bunch.

I would love it if someone in The States could click the link above and tell me if you're able to view the episodes. Any volunteers? I want to know if I can watch the remaining episodes when I get back home! (Sometimes you can't watch across borders because of copyright restrictions.)

Imagine the changes that could be made if more of us were to eat this way. OK, sure . . . those of us in Indiana would have to give up such amazing "imports" as pineapple, sugar, coffee, and olive oil. For many people, giving up those things seriously would be a challenge. But we might just gain more than we lose (or lose something for real, as in weight) by going back to simpler ways of eating seasonal, local foods. Certainly, we'd become more creative (previews show one of the families actually gathering their own salt - from the Pacific ocean!)

The 100 Mile Challenge was the brainchild of Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, who recorded their own 100 Mile journey in the 100 Mile Diet blog. The blog generated a huge international following (yes, S, that can happen!) and that led to the 100 Mile Diet book. After work tonight, I went to the totally awesome Indigo Bookstore and bought the book. I can't wait to read it! Note to those of you in The States who may be interested in the book: it's called Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100 Mile Diet in the USA.