We've written a lot about the 100-mile diet before (see links at the end of this post), but it is the first time that we hear about Powel River's local-eating adventure. That small British Columbia town (pop. 13,000) can now claim the title of "local-eating capital of North America" thanks to an initiative by Lyn Adamson. "Adamson, a key organizer for the challenge, had originally hoped to get 50 people eating food grown or raised within 50 miles for five weeks. [but as of August] there are more than 250 people signed up". Citizens pledged to eat locally at various levels, from 25% to 95% (many not going 100% to allow for coffee). But what makes this project even more impressive is that they went the extra mile, or rather, they didn't; instead of eating food produced within 100 miles, they are limiting themselves to a 50-mile radius.
"The local farmers are scared," says Adamson with a chuckle. Can they even supply all the food suddenly required?
Farmers like Helena Bird of Hatch a Bird Farm, whose organic produce flies out of her stall at every farmers' market, are facing the challenge with gusto. According to Bird, there is already enough demand for at least five more farms like hers. With a local-eating movement, she says, that number could be even higher. And Hatch a Bird is no hobby garden -- the farm is home to five acres of vegetables; walnut and hazelnut trees; harvests of apples, pears, plums, cherries and berries; plus cattle, goats and laying hens. Helena's husband is a commercial fisherman of halibut and black cod. "We have to buy the feed for the animals, and that's it," she says. [...]
The 50-mile challenge will likely prove, too, to be much more than an isolated flash in the pan. Participants are having those "ah-ha" moments that will carry over a lifetime: one mentioned, in their e-newsletter, the shock of realizing supermarket strawberries came from the U.S. at the height of the local strawberry season.
TreeHugger salutes you, Powell River!
Read more ::Local Eating's Unlikely Capital
See also on TreeHugger: ::Living On The 100 Miles Diet, ::Living On The 100 Miles Diet, Part 2, ::100 Mile Diet, Meet Oliver Rowe: Restaurant Serves Local Food, ::100-Mile Diet Launches Website, ::100 Mile Diet: Menus from Four Cities, ::100 Mile Diet: Finding Food, ::DEFRA Study About Impact of 'Food Miles', ::Restaurants Go On the Hundred Mile Diet: Harvest Restaurant