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The 100-Mile Diet

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In the present world where food additives and carbo-loading are causing too much risk to a person, a well-planned meal and diet is a must.  Indeed, there are a lot of health and diet campaign in the market today, some advocates push eating pure vegetables, some are advocates of eating organic foods while some promote eating soups or milk and cereals alone.  A choice, however, of one manner of restricting food intake must be decided carefully and must take into consideration its total effects, not only to the body but also to the environment, to the local food industry and to the market itself.  Quite a mouthful, yes, but not impossible.  There is a campaign that is being introduced today that makes such choice possible.  That is, the 100-Mile Diet.

            The 100-mile diet refers to the buying and eating food that has been grown, manufacture or produced entirely within a 100 mile radius of the individual who will be consuming the food.[1] This diet encourage the promotion of Local Food Patriotism where there is a collaborative effort to build a more locally based and self-reliant food economies where there is a sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption aimed to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place.[2]  Considering the miles our food travel before reaching our plate, the 100-mile diet aims to reduce the adverse effects such travel and process of our food to the environment and at the same time increase the social and economic benefits to the locality.

                        I am a Locavore.

Locavore is a term that is used to refer to a person who consumes food that are grown or produced locally or within the certain radius.[3]  I am a locavore.  I eat and consume food that are grown and produced locally within the 100-mile radius.  The aim of being a locavore is to encourage consumers to buy from farmer’s market or even produce my own food believing that in availing the locally produce foods, I am ensure of its quality, freshness and nutrition.  Also, in availing the foods produced locally, I am assured that my food are produced through environmentally friendly means.  It is said that the average distance that our food travel before reaching our plate is at least 1,500 miles. This long distance journey not only add up to the cost of the food that we are about to buy to supermarkets but also this journey contributes to the increasing problem in air pollution and global warming, not mentioning the additives it adds to the food to preserve its quality.  Thus, the 100-mile diet is aimed at reducing an individual’s carbon footprint and ecological footprint while supporting the local food system.[4]

Getting Started.

            Contrary to the idea of the critics of the 100-mile diet, choosing to be a locavores does not mean that you need to the rural area. I am presently living in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It is a place far from being rural and considered as an urban area in all ways. Yet, choosing to be a locavore is not really that hard.  The richness of the resources found in my 100-mile radius area made me realize that I am blessed because indeed, local foods are rich in this place.

            Thus, my 100-mile radius will basically cover Santa Rosa, Concord, San Jose, Los Banos, Tracy, Napa and a little portion of Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto.  This 100-mile radius will define my sources of foods- from sea foods to meat, dairies and milk.  Being aware of my area and its location in a foodshed confers in me a sense of connection and responsibility to my locality.  In knowing therefore, my place and its particulars, I would be open to the biological and its social realities making me a real native of that place and at the same time, I am helping my local farmers, fishermen and other local producers in their livelihood.

The Food Plan.

Basically, the 100-mile diet includes eating food that is produced locally.  At the first glance, one may say that the scheme is not that fun and the food might be repetitive thus, making the person easily get tired and bored from the pyramid.  In reality, indeed it may be repetitive and may be to a certain extent, boring, however, knowing and learning more about your local area will alleviate the repetitive food intake.  It may be concluded therefore that in going through this kind of diet, it is important therefore to know one’s 100-mile radius community.

            In identifying the foods and harvest that are grown in my locality, a local food wheel is a big help.   The local food wheel may be done by researching on the types and season foods are grown in the locality.

Of course, the 100-mile diet’s primary source of food is their own backyard where you can grow your own herbs and plants that may be a source of your food.[5]  Secondarily, it includes supporting local food networks which includes community gardens and farmers’ market.  Local food networks have been described as community based agriculture or direct agricultural markets.[6] This support to the local food system is an alternative to the trends of global corporate models wherein the producers are separated through a chain of processors to shippers and retailers.  This eradicates the increasing scale of industrial food systems’ idea that the control of quality of our food is decided mainly by the middlemen.  Upon the other hand, the local food system redevelops and reinvents the relationship between the producer and the immediate consumer.  These characteristic definitely refers not only in the product but also in the method of producing.[7]

In my area, West Marin is the source of oysters, mussels, grass-fed beef, cheese and milk.  The waters of the Pacific ocean is the rich source of fishes and other seafoods like ling cod, crabs, shrimp and salmon.  The estuaries, on the other hand, give halibut and bass.  The Sonoma County is the source of home grown chickens and spring lambs.  Small farms producing fruits and vegetables, wild mushroom and wines are also located in Sonoma and Napa.

            Indeed, there is no scientific evidence that will say a definite statement that eating locally produced food is better than any other diet and meal schemes. However, the number of advantages may not be ignored to truly be encouraged to adopt this certain scheme of consuming food.  Firstly, in the health aspect, eating locally promotes healthy consumption of food inasmuch as the buyer can ask questions to the producer himself as to the type of farming methods they employ to grow the produce.  In this way, we will know the type of food we are really taking, thus, limiting chemical intakes which are proven to be harmful to the body.  Inquiry as to the manner of growing the foods is possible since you can easily meet the people who produce the food because they are in fact, selling it themselves at the local farmer’s market or you can even visit the farm or the place where they food is grown or raised. Secondly, this type of dieting can give the person consuming the food that altruistic feeling that he or she is helping the planet in his or her own little way.  Buying locally means less pollution inasmuch as there is less or no transportation of the produce. Thus, being a locavores helps reduce greenhouse emission from food transport.[8] Lastly, for being a locavores, the person himself is helping the economy and sustainability of the local community.

            Having a good and healthy environment is said to be a good contributor to a healthy body.  Thus, in choosing a diet method, we should try to look beyond the effects such method will do to our body.  Rather, we should choose that scheme or diet plan that is not only advantageous to our body but also to the environment and community, even if we consider the same as indirectly.  In such way we are not only helping our body fixed but more so,  we are also fixing the health of our future generation.

References:

Feenstra, G. (2002) Creating space for sustainable food systems: lessons from the field. Agriculture and Human Values. 19(2). 99-106.

Garrett,L., and Greenberg,P. (2007). The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World. New World Library, p. 57.

Hinrichs, C.C. (2000) Embeddedness and local food systems: notes on two types of direct agricultural markets. Journal of Rural Studies, 16 (3), 295-303.

Halweil, Brian. (2002) “Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market”. World Watch Paper 163, November 2002

Smith, A.and MacKinnon, J.B. (2007) The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating. Random House Canada.

Sonnino, R. & Marsden, T. (2006) Beyond the Divide: rethinking relationships between alternative and conventional food networks in Europe. Economic Journal of Geography. pp. 181-199

T he New Oxford American Dictionary, Second Edition, Erin McKean (Editor), 2096 pages, May 2005, Oxford University Press,

Winter, M. (2007) Sustainable Living: For Home, Neighborhood and Community, 88-89.

[1] Smith, A.and MacKinnon, J.B. (2007) The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating. Random House Canada.

[2] Feenstra, G. (2002) Creating space for sustainable food systems: lessons from the field. Agriculture and Human Values. 19(2). 99-106.

[3]T he New Oxford American Dictionary, Second Edition, Erin McKean (Editor), 2096 pages, May 2005, Oxford University Press,

[4] Halweil, Brian. (2002) “Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market”. World Watch Paper 163, November 2002

[5] Winter, M. (2007) Sustainable Living: For Home, Neighborhood and Community, 88-89.

[6] Hinrichs, C.C. (2000) Embeddedness and local food systems: notes on two types of direct agricultural markets. Journal of Rural Studies, 16 (3), 295-303.

[7] Sonnino, R. & Marsden, T. (2006) Beyond the Divide: rethinking relationships between alternative and conventional food networks in Europe. Economic Journal of Geography. pp. 181-199.

[8] Garrett,L., and Greenberg,P. (2007). The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World. New World Library, p. 57.

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