Monday, October 15, 2007

Better Food, Less Oil

Buying food locally is all the rage, for good reason: you can feel virtuous for saving food-miles while getting fresher, more interesting food. Bozeman has a Farm to Restaurant program which connects farmers with chefs to bring local food to local diners, and a local truck farm puts on periodic potlucks with the challenge to make your dish out of ingredients from within 50 miles. But Bozeman is just one small part of the "local food" effort: the blog The Future is Green lists some success stories from other parts of the world, primarily Cuba and India. Local food isn't just for wealthy foodies: in Cuba, vegetable gardens in cities meet most or all of the local need for food without using scarce gasoline to transport it.

Another take on eating locally is the 100-Mile Diet, which organizes the kind of efforts to eat only food from your area that Barbara Kingsolver chronicled in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Gary Nabhan wrote about in Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods. Every time I read one of these books, I get inspired and add a few more local items to our diet. I can't say we eat only from a 100-mile foodshed, but there are many meals when most of our food comes from within 50 miles. Now if I could just wean my kids from Top Ramen noodle soup and commercial cereals, I'd be in pretty good shape.

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