The experiment that inspired an island – and not Whidbey

Sep 03, 2015
Vicki Robin
map salish sea

Map Salish Sea (Vicki: I live in the bottom right corner of the photo)

Here’s the last Bounty Food Experiment Blog post and leading up to our October 1-10 10-Day Local Food Challenge I’ll post many of Lopez Islander’s beautiful writings about each of their months of island eating.

Inspired by the 10-Day Local Food Challenge, Rhea Miller and Sandy Bishop challenged 12 Lopesians to sign up for a month a piece of commitment to local eating – however they defined it. They were asked to write on the Bounty blog.

Here‘s the final post from the Finley’s who “took” August, and here are some excerpts:

At the beginning

I am facing the prospect of a month of eating locally with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I am concerned about doing without my comfort foods, (or maybe they are my food addictions,) like coffee, ice cream, wine….. AND COFFEE!! On the other hand, I am curious to see how my body and psyche might react by doing without these crutches, and I am eager to experience what a month of eating consciously may do for the soul. After all, how hard could it be? We are already eating at about 70% local, so just a few ingredients to sort out locally, like oil, salt, leavening for bread, ingredients for sauces and dressings, etc. Am I fooling myself?
SATURDAY, AUGUST 1ST: What I started to notice as we progressed through our first day of this regime is how eating this way slows me down….in making decisions about what I’m going to eat at any moment, planning ahead for meals, and the act of putting food in my mouth. I’m eating smaller portions and savoring each bite much more than usual. I’m moving outside my usual habits: using combinations of herbs or ingredients that normally I wouldn’t bother trying and allowing myself to be more creative and spontaneous.


[Note from Vicki: discovering what isn’t local or may only be distributed locally but sourced globally, whets the appetite for new local products. Friends on Whidbey are experiment with black tea and Meyer lemons. I’m drooling] We spent quite a bit of time investigating where the various oils came from, trying to differentiate between where they were grown and from where distributed. Two olive oils were wholly from California – one of the Napa Valley brand and California Grown. Of the other cooking oils, only the Napa Valley Safflower oil appeared to be distributed and possibly grown there. I think this category is the biggest deficiency in our local foodshed. We heard a rumor that Nikyta Palmisani and Kenny Ferrugiaro are contemplating production of a Lopez sunflower seed oil….how cool would that be?!?

At the end

My strongest impression from the month was of the overwhelming generosity of neighbors and friends, with gifts of local butter, salt, honey, fruit, vegetables, cheese, salmon, eggs and yogurt. I felt we were supported by the entire community – that we were all in this together. … I discovered that I can survive without caffeine, chocolate and beer (but there’s surviving and there’s thriving – I am going back to these comforts at month’s end.)

[Note from Vicki: This is what i mean by relational eating.] A word that I have been obsessing over this month is “connection.” I feel that all of the challenges we currently face, from political and economic to environmental, health and interpersonal, stem from our own disconnection within each of these areas. The path to healing is to reconnect – with the food we eat, the natural bounty around us and with each other. [Note from Vicki: AMEN!] [Note from Vicki: 100 miles isn’t the holy grail. Here they redefine their eating circle to make geographical sense] I am choosing to make my “Blessing the Hands…” 100-mile radius more like a 200-mile long oval, including the area encompassing the Salish Sea, from the mouth of Juan de Fuca to Campbell River, B.C. The communities and farms in this integrated ecosystem enjoy a similar marine climate, food and culture, and it just feels like Home.