I’m not what you’d call fat in the traditional sense. Okay, I’ve got these darn big bones give people the impression that I’m too short for my weight, but I’m pretty healthy. At least that’s what I tell myself. Maggie likes to describe me to her friends as substantial. So when she handed me the 100 Mile Diet book, I thought she was trying to tell me something and I was feeling a little self conscious, but after reading it, realized that it was a diet that I could sink my teeth into.

The history of the 100 Mile Diet phenomena is quite amazing. One Spring morning two Vancouver writers,  Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon made the decision to only eat food that had a source no farther that a radius of 100 miles from their apartment in the west end of Vancouver. The reason for their journey of discovery were many, but it distilled down to one fact: We eat, and yet we don’t really know where it comes from or how it’s grown. We do know the average calorie in North America has travel 2400 km to get to your fork! That trip generates pollution. How much? It takes on average 4 to 10 calories of diesel energy to get that calorie to you. Odd that eating food, which is good for you, could be so detrimental to the planet.

The pair documented their ongoing journey of discovery in the Tyee, (thetyee.ca) an online magazine, and later encapsulated the articles in book called “The 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating” published by Random House Canada, and available through your local library.

That casual decision at the kitchen table in 2005 has become the touchstone for a movement, even a revolution, in how people think about food. Groups of 100 Milers have sprouted up in communities across North America. The City of Vancouver has proclaimed that September 2007 is Eat Local Month. Albany, New York has their own 100 Mile Challenge, and the list of local growers and resources is updated constantly on their website 100milediet.org.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start your own 100 Mile Challenge. The original Thanksgiving celebrated the bounty of the local harvest, and the 100 Mile Thanksgiving dinner does the same. The only real challenge is sourcing locally grown food. The best place to start is at the local farmers market. In BC start at www.bcfarmersmarket.org

To find out how great local food can taste, mark your calendar for October 13th at the Earthwise Garden in Boundary Bay, when Chef Rob Galliford from the Beach Grove Golf Club will be preparing a special 100 Mile Dinner. On the menu: braised beet and carrot salad dressed in Westham Island honey and sherry, roasted corn and potato salad with buttermilk, chilies and scallions, kamut pilaf with cipolline onions and herbs,wild sockeye salmon, followed by a seasonal fruit crisp topped with local ice cream.

To get tickets, call the Earthwise office at 604-946-9828

The 100 Mile Diet