Thursday, August 5, 2010

100 Mile Food Challenge

Last night we were channel surfing - you can always tell when summer is here by the  low choices of quality TV. When we came across the show 100 Mile Food Challenge on the Food Network.  This may have been a rerun, but the concept was very interesting.  For 100 days the city of Mission, BC took the challenge to only eat foods that were grown and produced within 100 miles of their municipality.  Sounds easy right?  Then they showed the residents cleaning out their refrigerators and pantry's.  They meant everything that wasn't local.  Salt, soy sauce, ketchup, pepper etc.  Now the goals for this project were to bring an awareness of the food that is available to residents produced by local farmers and to have people eating less packaged food from other countries. 

I started to think about what I would eat on a daily basis, if I was to only buy from local farmers.  I know there would be a great supply of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, potatoes on a regular basis.  For our vegetables there is several Farmers Markets and the local Hutterite colony.  I would probably have to take more time preparing meals and shopping.  The real challenge for me would be the spices, and staples - salt, flour, sugar.  The mayor of the city was one of the families highlighted.  He had to change his drinking habits too - only locally produced wine and beer.  No Vodka from Russia and even Whiskey that was Canadian was off the list.  The one item that affected almost every household was coffee and tea.

Our local county started a project last year called the  100K Kitchen Party.  Based on the 100 mile diet philosophy the 100K Kitchen Party takes the Canadian spin on it. All components of the project are based on utilizing the foods grown within a 100K radius of Drayton Valley, this takes in portions of the Counties of Parkland, Yellowhead, Woodlands, Lac St. Anne, Clearwater, Leduc, Wetaskiwin, and Ponoka.

The 100K Kitchen Party is looking to the past to preserve our future, here are some of the reasons why.  As the agriculture industry faces the trials and tribulations of the global economy, we are seeing more farmers retiring and the Ag parcels getting smaller and smaller. There is an opportunity for the agriculture industry to capitalize on the growing demand for locally produced foods that have not been treated with pesticides and chemicals so that they can be transported from far away. Between health concerns, concerns regarding carbon emissions used to transport the foods, and our awareness of our global dependence in this shaky economy, people are starting to remember the old days where the food you bought was from your neighbor, and you or someone you trusted processed it. There were no scares of listeria or melamine years ago, there weren't the allergies and reactions either - people are catching on and the 100 Mile Diet is taking off, this is an opportunity for our agriculture community to remain doing what they love to do and to profit by it.  The 100K Kitchen Party is sustainable in the triple bottom line of economics, environment and social. It is a huge 3 year project, that includes:
  • Traditional Food Processing
  • International Food Processing
  • Eat Local Program
  • Food Processing Cooperative
  •  100K Map
I'm not sure I am up for eliminating all food from our diet that isn't local, but trying to only eat Canadian for a while seems manageable.  Could you be successful at the 100 Mile Food Challenge?

No comments: