Sunday, January 20, 2008

Eating Local - Taking it to the Limit

If you haven't seen the Path to Freedom website, check it out, and discover how a family is making a living by homesteading in Pasadena, California. Yes, Pasadena. California. Home of ridiculously high land values and a stratospheric cost of living.


You might expect people as nuts... er, as ambitious as that to issue forth an equally ambitious challenge. And here it is: The 100 Foot Diet Challenge. They figure, as many of us gardeners do, that a 100 mile diet is all well and good, but why buy food that has traveled 100 miles if you can grow the same food in your own yard?

The challenge isn't to get all of your food from your own yard all of the time, which is a good thing. Grain takes more room that a suburban backyard has to raise, and some of us live in communities that forbid keeping livestock, even poultry, within the city limits. The challenge is to do what we can to eat an entirely homegrown meal at least once a week. If some part can't be homegrown (like oil, butter, or vinegar), then buy local, fair trade, or organic.

The challenge might be a bit hard for northerners to pull off at this time of the year, but the website does include the words, "as soon as you can." That is, I may not be able to serve up a mixed-greens and tomato salad from my garden right this minute, but I can lay out my garden plans and order seeds so that later in the summer, I can have that salad.

Besides the "greenness" of it all, there's a deep sense of satisfaction from serving up a meal and saying, "All this food you're eating? I grew it!" Or, "Look, everyone, this is as fresh as fresh gets!" So who else wants to get on board with this challenge?

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