100 Mile Diet Is Socially Responsible And Tastes Good, Too

Enlightened Organizations: inspiration

100 Mile Diet
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Vancouver, British Columbia’s, Alisa Smith, free lance writer and journalist, and partner J.B. McKinnon, author, challenged themselves to a one year mission to eat only locally grown foods from a 100 mile radius of their Vancouver home as a statement in support of the environment and local growers.

Their prize-winning book, “The 100 Mile Diet, A Year of Local Eating”, published in 2007 and winning regional awards in 2008, is a memoir of their experiences in finding and preparing local food. It presents an important part of the totally new way of looking at the world and of the role we need to adopt as keepers of the earths treasures for future generations.

The 100 Mile Diet may not be an “organization” by definition, as we normally profile on Monday’s blog of Best Practices of Enlightened Organizations, but the authors are a partnership, and their project, and ultimately their product, which is a new way of thinking about how we eat, does indeed, qualify them as inductees into our Hall of Enlightened Organizations.

Their project may seem like it focused on food, but it actually brings into question issues of globalization, the oil economy, environmental collapse, and the unraveling of the social fabric of our communities. These issues are of primary concern to enlightened organizations… they are the issues and values enlightened organizations are committed to dealing with ahead of profit margins. The 100 Mile Diet has caught on internationally and is increasing awareness of how each of us can make a positive impact on the global environment by eating “from home”.


  • Minimum distance that North American produce typically travels from farm to plate, in miles: 1,500
  • Number of Planet Earths’ worth of resources that would be needed if every person worldwide lived like the average North American: 8

In a way, their project is also reflective of the Slow Food movement begun in France to counter the Fast Food industry. The very act of becoming engaged in the source of our food brings us into an energy that reminds us we are part of nature.  We are energetically part of the environment in which we live, which means we share an inter-connectivity with all living systems in that environment. By becoming conscious of eating from the local area, we link to the ‘terroir’ of the region, its heritage, artisans, community and farmers.

“It’s remarkable, but people who grow their own food, who reconnect with the soil, can immediately appreciate the implications of an economy that doesn’t respect the power of ecology,” says Woody Tasch, author of the book, Slow Money.

Tasch believes one aspect of social responsibility has been left out that can no longer be neglected is a more personal connection to our food. It all comes down to Earth and back to sustainable agriculture.

Eating locally isn’t just a fad like the various diets advertised on late-night TV-it may be one of the most important ways we save ourselves and the planet.”
- Dr. David Suzuki, chair, The David Suzuki Foundation

Smith and McKinnon were at first amazed to realize that the typical ingredients in their meals were traveling a distance that spanned from Toronto to the Yukon before landing on their dinner table.  The concept of greenhouse gases, smog and consumption of energy to move this product was astounding.

Although the idea of the 100 Mile Diet has gained international awareness, the concept is not all that foreign to many still alive today.  It is a return to a life style from the not so distant past.


I recall the enthusiasm my cousins and I would have for spending time with my grandparents in rural Manitoba. I would rave to my friends about my grandmothers wonderful cooking.  Now, I realize it was not so much the cooking as the source of the products.  The garden contained corn, potatoes, cucumbers, peas, dill, beets, turnips, green and yellow beans, tomatoes, to die for…  the list goes on.  One of our favorite pastimes was playing hide and seek with a salt shaker! – lying low in the deep rows of vegetables, snacking on cucumbers or tomotoes, waiting to be found.


The weekends were filled with excursions to the countryside to pick a wide variety of wild mushrooms in each of their growing seasons, or low bush cranberries, blueberries, saskatoons, pincherries, rose hips, or wild strawberries.  My grandfather would pick up his fishing gear as soon as he arrived home after a full day of work, load us into his little fishing boat, and head up the river to catch fresh Pickerel for dinner.


Evenings were car trips to the farms of relatives or friends after dinner and provided a social opportunity, as well as, a chance to pick up fresh farm eggs, chickens, beef, milk, fresh icy cold cream that was later left to sour to make sour cream that someone who has only eaten supermarket sour cream could never begin to understand… to mention nothing of the homemade butter and the homemade cottage cheese!

I guess it was a lot of work.  But I do not recall anyone complaining. It seemed there was always plenty of time to share the experience with us. The handling of the food was part of the life and social experience.  Products were swapped and shared with great pride. Pails of handpicked berries were often left by neighbours on the doorstep in the early morning, and later exchanged for the jars of preserves they had been used to make.


Maybe a full 100 mile diet is not something you want to commit to.  But I do challenge you to consider even a small change in your purchasing habits.  A lot of people, each making an adjustment, can make a huge difference. Perhaps you will try growing your own tomotoes in pots on your balcony.  You will be amazed at how much produce comes from just one small plant – and you will love the difference in flavor.  I believe you will also find getting an energy connection with your food actually changes your energy consciousness.


Organizational Behaviour Consultant
author: Imagine Your Soul Abundant: Attracting Success, Happiness and True Fulfillment
more about: www.soulabundant.com
dy and Jim Berg have chosen to reside in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia because of the availability of locally grown produce.  They are committed to supporting local growers. Last summer they purchased beautiful cherries directly from the grower for $1.00 per pound!  The same cherries were being sold at roadside stands for $4.99 per pound and at the local supermarkets for $6.99 per pound. Here are some statistics that should make you concerned.

Share of each U.S. consumer food dollar that returned to the farmer in 1910, in cents: 40

Share that returned to the farmer in 1997, in cents: 7

Let’s support our local growers – or all of our food will be coming from thousands of miles away.

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3 Responses to “100 Mile Diet Is Socially Responsible And Tastes Good, Too”

  1. NickCorsi Says:

    check out this ted.com video about food. It touches on the concept of "locavore"-eating only locally grown food among many other food related topics

    <object width="446" height="326"><param name="movie" value="http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlaye...name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><param name="bgColor" value="#ffffff"></param> <param name="flashvars" value="vu=http://static.videoegg.com/ted/movies/MarkBittman.../><embed src="http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf&quot;pluginspace="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer&quot;type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" bgColor="#ffffff" width="446" height="326" allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="vu=http://static.videoegg.com/ted/movies/MarkBittman...

  2. JudyBerg Says:

    Thanks for the link Nick. It is an interesting word -" locavore" – amazing how our vocabulary changes and develops!

  3. Thinking Big Works Says:

    Anonymous Proxy…

    I found a great……

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