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The 100-Mile Diet, 15 Years Later

The 100-Mile Diet, 15 Years Later

Authors Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon on asparagus season, a more just local food system, and pandemic gardens of hope. First in a week-long series.

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Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon in the book jacket photo for The 100-Mile Diet, published in 2007 by Random House after the couple launched the concept with a 2005 series in The Tyee. All this week J.B. MacKinnon will guest edit related special coverage. Photo: Random House.

Fifteen years ago, The Tyee launched a series called The 100-Mile Diet written — and lived — by Alisa Smith and James (J.B.) MacKinnon. The idea was simple. Alisa and James were trying to live a year eating only locally-sourced food. The first I heard about it was standing around my barbecue on a sunny day in June 2005, Alisa and James looking on as I grilled some salmon.

They were attending a small backyard party I was hosting for the fledgling Tyee team. Alisa had written the Tyee’s very first cover story on how the BC Liberal government’s weakened child labour laws put kids at risk; James, her partner, was already a well-regarded freelance journalist, too. The two of them listened as I bragged about the Copper River salmon from Alaska I’d procured. I explained I’d paid a premium for those beauties, but I’d probably go to heaven for it because eating sustainably-managed wild salmon was so much better ecologically than farmed salmon. They looked at each other and laughed.

When I asked why, they pointed out that here in B.C. we have our fair share of wild salmon — and it doesn’t have to be flown 2,500 kilometres to land on our plates. They patiently explained that moving food around the globe consumes prodigious amounts of energy and serves to weaken local food security. And that was why lately they’d committed to living only on food grown close to home.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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