Posted by: Rabideye | August 1, 2009

Annual 50-mile, eat-local diet underway. Are you up to the challenge?

The colour schemes of August in Powell River

The colour schemes of August in Powell River

By David Parkinson

Powell River’s 50-mile eat-local challenge is getting ready for its fourth year. This annual event is our regional spin on the 100-mile diet, which is now even the subject of a TV show. This year, the challenge will run from August 9 to September 27: 50 days in which as much as possible of what we eat comes from within 50 miles.

Why the interest in eating local food? For one thing, it reduces our carbon footprint, since most of our food is regularly shipped thousands of miles. One estimate is that only 1-2% of the food consumed in this region comes from here. Buying from this area’s farmers and fishers also keeps money circulating locally.

What will you get from taking part in the eat-local challenge? You will learn how difficult it is to eat even half of your daily intake from nearby farms, gardens, and fisheries. In the summertime, this region produces a considerable amount of vegetables and fruit, but very small amounts of grains, legumes, meat, poultry, dairy products, oils, sweeteners, and other components of a balanced diet.

You’ll have to get good at asking questions and snooping around. The best place to buy really local food is directly from a farmer or at the Open Air Market at the Paradise Exhibition grounds, the Hot Summer Night market at Willingdon Beach, or the Texada Farmers’ Market.

But the main benefit is that it is fun! You’ll learn a lot about where your food comes from, you’ll meet your local farmers, and you’ll make connections as you swap food and recipes. Above all, you’ll get to eat some of the most delicious and fresh food imaginable.

We’ll kick off with an excellent opportunity to see some food-producing gardens, in the first ever Edible Garden Tour. Come see how your neighbours are growing some of their own food. Get inspired to start growing some of your own!

How can you get involved? We’ll be out at the local markets signing people up. Check the blog at pr50.wordpress.com from which you can find our Facebook and Twitter connections.

You get to choose your level of commitment to local eating by setting the percentage of food you think you can eat from within 50 miles.

Once you’re signed up, we’ll send out regular email messages with information about what’s available locally, recipe ideas, and other information to help you find and enjoy the most delicious local food. This year we’re planning to do a weekly podcast (like a radio show on the internet) featuring conversations with some of our biggest supporters of local eating.

The future is local. Be part of it this summer.

Article published in the August 2009  Powell River Living Magazine

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