Thinking Globally, Eating LocallyTue Aug 2, 2005 Miss Vicky
I first read about the 100 Mile Diet over on Treehugger and thought it was a pretty interesting concept.
Here's the deal: these two folks in BC are trying hard to limit their food intake to stuff grown and produced within 100 miles of where they live. You can read about some of their adventures here. Big stumbling blocks for them, apparently, are grains (wheat, rice, etc, a necessary staple) and sugar. Oh, and cost.
Not sure it's a challenge I want to take, but it has gotten me thinking about my eating and shopping habits. As much as I love the Parkdale Market, you need to make sure you're buying local, as a stunning amount of produce there is imported. It's a bit better now that we're in the midst of the growing season, but back in the spring pickings were pretty slim. We go to Sasloves, the butcher on Wellington West, for organic and hormone-free meat.... I guess we'll have to ask where it's from. Perhaps I'll report on this later.
Ottawa's Food Security Council has a Buy Local Food guide. There is an online version, but you can pick up a printed copy at a number of locations in the city, like Bridgehead or the Mountain Equipment Co-op. The guide includes information on local farmer's markets, but also on the farms themselves - location, hours, whether the stuff's organic, and so on. There's also a handy Harvest Chart, so you know what's fresh when. The only drawback - it covers this side of the river only. I can imagine there are plenty of places in the Outaouais as well. For example, Bryson Farms has a booth in the Parkdale Market (starting in August) and, if I recall correctly, has a delivery service as well.
You don't just get fresher, better-tasting food when you buy local. You're supporting the local economy. And you're helping reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use up in transporting food to Ottawa (according to the OFSC, the average meal travels up to 2400 km in order to reach your table!), not to mention the amount of packaging. Even if you're not up to the full 100 Mile Diet, making small chances to your shopping habits can really make a difference.