Eating Local Challenges: Part I


It's hard to believe that growing our own food has become a radical act. Just a generation ago, growing your own food was the norm. Photo courtesy of

There are a number of eating local challenges. One is called the 100 Mile Thanksgiving which challenges people to eat a local Thanksgiving dinner. The 100 Mile Diet is a more permanent change towards local eating.

I have mixed feelings about this movement. On one side, eating local is a great idea. Challenging your family to local eating for a period of time can be a great learning experience for the modern industrial eater. It allows the family to learn how dependent we have become on imported foods from around the world. Eating local for a period of time helps the family to find all of the great local food sources. This can be a fun experience.

But in the hands of a zealous person, local eating can be expensive and unnecessarily restrictive. It could make people feel guilty if they cannot live up to some high artificial restriction. Some people might quit in frustration while others “cheat” on the program and feel “bad” about not living up to some ideal. At worst, it can turn human tragedy into some kind of game. It makes “fun” of the real poverty and starvation faced by a billion people on our planet that must eat locally or die trying.

If you like to watch this type of program, which dramatizes the human condition though the distorted lens of reality TV, I have a link for you. Here is a commercial for a show coming soon to a TV near you: 100 Mile Diet in Mission, BC.

If you decide to do your own local food challenge and want to avoid these common pit falls, a good “acid test” might be a simple question. Are you having fun and learning something about yourself or are you feeling pressured and frustrated? Don’t let our society’s distorted ideals of achievement destroy a good idea.

Update April 26, 2009:
Path to Freedom has announced a new challenge called the 100 Foot Diet. The idea is to eat from your property. For more information and tips about growing your own food go to: 100 Foot Diet Challenge. I can dig it!
In our society, growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can – and will – overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world – we change ourselves.
Jules Dervaes