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Hi and thanks for stopping in!  I am a graduate student studying the politics of food.  As part of my research, I have decided to do the 100 mile diet in order to test the boundaries and limitations of our food system.  What I have experienced has been – for the most part – fascinating, fun and encouraging.  Beyond good, healthy food I have discovered community and connectedness with my environment, my neighbours and myself.  I’ve had a few set-backs, and some brief (very brief) moments of discouragement, but overall, eating local is a wonderful experience.  I really don’t know that I’ll ever go back…

This is a log of my adventures in local eating, which started in earnest on August 01, 2007.  The basic rule is that all food items purchased to bring into my home must come from within 100 miles of where I live, and ideally are organic or ecologically produced.  While most of my food actually comes from about a 20-30 mile radius, my 100 miles includes all of Southwestern Ontario, stretching from lake Huron to just west of Toronto, north to Georgian Bay, and south to include the Niagara Peninsula.  If I can’t find it here, I’ll just have to do without.  Except….

– A few items which do not have competing local versions (i.e. olive oil vs. sunflower oil) can be purchased from beyond this zone, provided that they are certified fair trade and organic.  This includes spices (pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, curry, ginger and so on), tea, coffee and chocolate.   Of course I could try and learn to live without them, but I really want this project to succeed!

– As the life of a graduate student is solitary enough, I can suspend my local eating rules for social purposes when invited out to dinner by friends, either in their homes or at a restaurant.  Should I invite them to my home, I have to stick to my rules.

– When I travel, the rules again can be suspended so that I don’t starve.  Anything I purchase that was produced within a 100 miles of my  travel destinations is fair game to bring home.

– Products produced locally to where friends and family travel are a welcome addition to my pantry 🙂

23 Responses

  1. Oh I hope I am the first to respond! What a fantastic project. I have been trying too now that I have moved from the big city (Toronto) to eat more locally. I ask, what good are year round mangoes if we are eating them during a typhoon on our front stoops (all that is left of our houses since last month’s hurricane took them away)? I don’t wish to be all doom and gloom, but surely it is clear by now that we must attend to what we are doing far more than we have been. The capitalist imperative of unlimited growth is simply not sustainable. I would rather eat canned peaches in an appropriately cold winter (it is Canada, after all, hello) than juicy mangoes in a warm typhoon.
    Good on you. Keep it up.

  2. Thanks Alison! Unlimited growth is not only not sustainable, but I think we’ve already reached our max. My mother was commenting to me this morning that she has never seen food so expensive in the grocery stores, and that on the National last night they announced that the food in our freezers is going to be worth a lot more in a couple of months. Good thing I have a lot in my freezer!

    All this to say, I think we are going to start feeling the pinch sooner than later, and hopefully that will help us smarten up and avoid ending up with a typhoon season in Canada.

  3. Hi there,

    Norfolk County is Ontario’s leading grower of apples, asparagus, cabbage, cucumbers, ginseng, peanuts, pumpkins, green onions and shallots, squash and zucchini, strawberries, sweet corn and tobacco. (Source: Statistics Canada)

    We produce the Norfolk County Official Map & Local Food Guide and http://www.norfolkfarms.com. I hope we can connect you to lots of food sources!

    Clark Hoskin
    Manager, Tourism & Economic Development
    Norfolk County
    30 Peel Street
    Simcoe ON N3Y 1R9
    Phone: (519) 426-5870 ext 1238
    Email: clark.hoskin@norfolkcounty.ca

    http://www.norfolkfarms.com / http://www.norfolktourism.ca / http://www.norfolkbusiness.ca

  4. Re: Household cleaners

    I recently switched from borax to washing soda for scrubbing bathtubs & found it is much more effective. The downside is that I am introducing lots of sodium into the sewage water.

  5. There is at least plenty of local wines to choose from. http://www.wineriesontario.com

    Good luck with your local eating (and drinking) journey!

  6. Hi ontariolocavore;

    good luck with your adventure. Are you in London – from your description it sounds as if you are. I am also trying to source more local foods and now that spring is here it should be a little easier. We belong to a CSA around Aylmer that takes care of summer vegies. I’m going to snoop around your site for recipes, etc. If I find any fantastice places I’ll let you know.

  7. Hi Catherine – yes I am in London. Our CSA starts up tomorrow and I’m very excited to see what we get to bring home. Please do share what you come up with! I am always looking for more info on sustainable food. Cheers

  8. Great blog Alison, and the very best of luck with your research! I share your interests. I have added a link to your blog at Living Local, http://www.livinglocal.ca, you can view it here:

  9. Hi Dee! Thanks for including my blog on your web site! What a great resource. I look forward to going through it. By the way, my name isn’t Alison, it’s Hélène. I suppose I should put that up in my profile! Cheers

  10. Hi Helene,
    there is a book called Food Politics by Marion Nestle?
    It’s wonderful. I did a paper on this topic (food politics and gmo foods) and this book was useful.

    Check it out if you have a chance.

    Take care

  11. Thanks Annique! I just ordered the book from the library and received notice this morning that it is ready for pick-up. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  12. You are most welcome! Let me know what you think. Hopefully it helps. I really appreciate reading your blog. Please keep blogging.

    Take care

  13. Being from within your 100 mile radius I’ll definately be looking for tip on your blog!

  14. Thanks for sending me the link. I’ve been enjoying some time reading your blogs and exploring the site. Its packed with lots of interesting thinking and information . It’s a genuinely valuable contribution your making here by sharing your personal insights and explorations. I’ll come back again to explore some more.
    For now though, i am left wondering about how you would deal with lots of garden space. I’ve seen how you’ve charished that tiny area you have to garden and think back to my own tiny townhouse garden space. There i had a plot no bigger than a closet and playing kids or dogs or stray flying balls pretty much destroyed my chances for success. Clair, my wife, showed no interest. When we moved to the farm i cleared a small garden patch the first year and she soon took over. Now the garden patch is about 40×60 and she spends endless hours digging around in it. The freezer and shelves get filled by the time the cold weather sets in.

  15. Hi Dave,
    Glad you have been enjoying! What would I do with a large garden? Probably get myself into a lot of trouble, ha ha! I swore that this year I would only plant a small number and variety of veggies so that my garden won’t get so clogged and overgrown this year. Yet I just finished starting roughly 90 seedlings! Of course my intention is to give most of them away, but if I had the space…

  16. greetings locavore

    i have enjoyed reading your blog….i’m glad that you are supporting local farmers. we have been full time certified organic farmers for 26 years.
    we started our organic farm back “when people quit their government jobs to go back to the land” …we are fortunate that this “calling” has sustained us for all these years.
    i think that there is a renewed food movement ..100 mile diet etc.

  17. Am waiting patiently (?) for your next post.
    I think I’ve become addicted….


  18. Hey…I just thought you might find this interesting. Check out http://www.foodtree.com and the blog there. My friend is doing a year-long challenge trying to eat and drink only things traceable to the source.

  19. It would be greatly appreciated if you pass on this event information.

    Livable Waterloo Region is an urban-focused conference to discuss creating a more livable city.

    It will take place Saturday, August 21, 2010, from 10am to 3pm at the Kitchener City Hall Rotunda.

    Speakers List
    Brian Dietrich & Kae Elgie: Built Heritage is Green
    Jeff Casello: Rethinking our Transportation System
    Brendan Wylie-Toal: Assessing the Capacity for Local Food in Hospitals
    Matthew Tiessen: Walkability
    Linda Carson: Looks Matter
    Sean Geobey: Developing the region as a Cluster of Incubators
    Sameer Arshad: Geek Culture
    Lindsay Matthews: Vehicle Monitoring Technology


  20. Hello there I like this blog and wish you well.

    Tonight I found a program on Global, on Sept 15 at 7pm, 100 days 100 mile diet. (for you to look up if you can find it)

    Beware they do complain a lot, but the concept is similar as well as finding Oranges, lemons and Limes near you!
    Cheers and take care

    • Thanks! I did find it but haven’t had time to watch more than a few clips. Perhaps later this week as I’m on break. I appreciate the tip – Cheers!

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