How the challenge began
In September 2010 I undertook a one-month 10-mile diet. I believed that communities could take back much of the power we’ve given to the corporate industrial food system to feed us… but how local could I personally go? How much of my food could I really source locally, here on Whidbey, my home island in the Pacific Northwest? Would I even be willing to live what I espoused?
I call sustainability an extreme sport. So I made a commitment and went on a hunt for food from 10-mile friends, farmers, ranchers, farm stands, Farmers’ Markets and some underground sources for “illegal foods” like milk right from a neighbor’s cow.
I decided to blog daily to document the journey. You can follow the 30-day experiment on my 10-mile diet blog. You can read the whole story in Blessing the Hands that Feed Us (Viking 2014).
The experiment changed
- the way I eat,
- the way I cook
- what I think is food
- my sense of belonging to a people and a place
- My understanding of the limits (and glories) of the corporate industrial food system and the injustices embedded in it.
- My willingness to spend more for good food that nourishes me, the living soils around me, and my local economy.
- My taste for overeating, sport eating and unconscious eating.
- My politics as I determined to address some of the big hurdles communities will need to surmount if we want thriving regional food systems.
Readers tell me they are taking up their own experiments in local eating. They asked if I would offer a collective way to do it. With this 10-Day Local Food Challenge I invite you to go on an adventure like mine. You’ll have your own reasons: health, nutrition, knowing your farmer, curiosity, challenge, politics, love of local, eagerness to engage in a shared experiment or just wanting to. You’ll have your own challenges, but these will both grow you and grow our collective understanding of the state of our current food system and what needs to change for everyone to have access to fresh, local, fair food into the far future. Those who do the challenge, and all those who follow their progress, will be more empowered as eaters and more committed to how we-the-eaters can change the world of food for the better.
Whidbey Island, WA