FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that this blog is no longer being updated as of January 20, 2014.
Q: Why are you doing this and why do I have to sign up? I already eat lots of local food!
A: We’re a loose collection of local food aficionados who are volunteering our time to raise awareness of the importance of having a local food system, and the many benefits of eating local. If you are already eating local: Great! But it’d also be good to set up a formal challenge to yourself to have it always on your mind when food shopping during those 50 days (Aug. 5 – Sept. 23, 2012). It’s a small thing, but a personal target will help to actualize our regional food security. The 50-Mile Challenge presents a goal and we need to know you are setting it and are at least trying to meet the challenge. Having the numbers behind us will make it easier to suggest to local grocers that they obtain more local produce, and will encourage farmers to grow more food for the locavores!
Also, it will encourage other farmers, gardeners and others in the local food movement to move here!
Q: Do I have to eat 100% Local?
A: Not at all. You can choose your percentage of local food consumption, but we are recommending 50%. How you define 50% (or whatever percentage you’re choosing) is really up to you. For example in a dish that contains local greens on rice with some local meat, this meal could qualify as being 50% local (rice being non-local). A sandwich made of local goat cheese and garden greens on locally-baked bread* could count as 75% local, with only the wheat flour being non-local, but since the bread was made here it would have a value-added benefit.
* please note that what grocery stores often list as “freshly baked bread” is actually frozen bread that they pop into their ovens. Ask them if you have any questions. Use your best judgment in such cases…
Q: What counts as “local food” anyway?
A: For the purposes of this Challenge, we consider food grown within 50 miles of us, to be local. See the Map below or CLICK HERE to see the interactive Google map. Many Eat Local campaigns use the 100-mile marker, while Powell River is distinctive for the 50-mile radius (where stretching the distance to 100 miles actually does not help very much anyhow…)
Q: I will DIE without…(fill in the blank: coffee , tea, chocolate, pepper, limes, oranges, wine and spirits…) What can I do?
A: Remember that it really isn’t an “all or nothing” deal you’ve entered into. For example, if you choose to eat 50% local, then that leave 50% non-local that can fulfill your coffee/tea needs. That said, this will cut into your actual non-local food intake to maintain that 50% local goal. Options can include herbal and fruit teas (lemon balm, mint, local fruit-flavoured teas…), coffee at least roasted nearby (eg. Salt Sping Is. is close to the 50-mile border we’ve set… www.saltspringcoffee.com), and local-ish wines (www.saturnavineyards.com and http://www.wineislands.ca/pages/touring/comox/). If you make your own wine or beer here at U-Brew locations, then at least your product is somewhat more local, with fewer transportation costs (environmentally-speaking), right?
The fact is, you can probably do without exotics like mangos, chocolate, pineapples and lemons for 50 days. They’ll taste all the better when you do go back to them. And if you feel you can’t, then lump these into the 50% non-local category for the day. If in doubt or eating out, just ask if the food is locally grown. Several restaurants in town (full list available soon) will be providing at least one local dish for the duration of the Challenge. One interesting and important effect of staying away from non-local food for a while is that you learn to better appreciate these foods, and in fact will reduce your consumption of these year-round in favour of local.
Powell River used to be much more food self-sufficient, and with your help we can regain some of our food sovereignty.
That said, there is now local beer in Powell River (http://townsitebrewing.com/agecheck) not that we advocate alcohol consumption or anything. Beer’s more a slug thing, anyhow.
Q: Does “Local Trump Organic”?
A: Probably. Our region is non-GMO (Genetically-Modified Organism), and use of pesticide/herbicide is frowned upon. That said, if you’re not sure whether the food you want to buy is “Certified Organic”, shop at the Open Air Market or ask your grocer how the food was grown or raised. Getting the label “Certified Organic” is very costly, and many functionally organic farmers and gardeners simply grow their food naturally but do not have the legal right to label their produce “Certified Organic”. Still, other foods like nettles and mushrooms are often foraged, for which there is no possible “certification”.
You have to ask yourself: is a “certified organic” bulb of garlic that comes from China (where 95% of all retail garlic now comes from) and is sold at Walmart, better for the planet and the local economy that a non-certified organic bulb of garlic grown by a neighbour.
Q: I’m already a vegetarian, but I need my protein! We don’t grow much veggie protein in the region. What can I do?
A: The fact is that a vegetable-heavy vegetarian diet will give you much of what you need, protein-wise. Look for foods that are high in protein and grow them or try to find local sources. See this webpage (especially at the bottom) for more info: http://www.vegparadise.com/protein.html
Calculating Protein Requirements
Recently, studies on nitrogen balance provided more accurate ways to measure the body’s protein requirements. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. in his book Eat to Live writes that an easy way to calculate your own daily protein requirement according to the U.S. RDA is to multiply 0.36 (grams) by your body weight. That translates to about 44 grams for a 120-pound woman and 54 grams for a 150-pound male. In metric terminology the RDA is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Brenda Davis, R.D., and Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D., in their book Becoming Vegan consider 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight per day to be more ideal for vegans eating whole plant foods such as legumes, whole grains, and vegetables. Multiplying 0.45 grams by your body weight in pounds will give you the approximate protein need for your body. These figures are a little higher than actual RDA requirements but were considered necessary as a safety factor to account for reduced digestibility of whole plant foods versus more refined foods such as tofu, textured soy protein, and meat substitutes.
Another way to calculate your RDA for protein is to take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 (pounds per kilogram) to determine your weight in kilograms. Then figure 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Those who include tofu, textured soy protein, meat substitutes, and refined grains will find 0.8 grams per kilogram of protein daily quite adequate.
|Beans, string||1 cup||2|
|Brussels Sprouts||1/2 cup||2|
|Chard, Swiss||1 cup||3|
|Corn, Sweet||1 large cob||5|
|Fennel||1 medium bulb||3|
|Jerusalem Artichoke||1 cup||3|
|Peppers, bell||1/2 cup||1|
|Potato, baked with skin||2 1/3 x 4 3/4″||5|
|Potato, boiled with skin||1/2 cup||1|
|Squash, Summer||1 cup||2|
|Squash, Winter||1 cup||2|
|Sweet Potato||1 cup||3|
|Bean 1 cup||Protein
|Cannellini (White Beans)||17|
|Garbanzos (Chick Peas)||15|
|Great Northern Beans||15|
|Green Peas, whole||9|