Blog #1: “The 100-Mile Diet”

Smith, A. MacKinnon, J. B. 2007. The 100-mile diet. Toronto: Vintage Canada. p. 1 – 107

First and foremost I would like to  start this “free write” by informing you a little about myself. My name is Jenna Kavanagh and I am studying my 3rd year in the  Natural Resource Sciences program offered at Thompson River University and loving it! I’ve always known that post secondary education would be the right path for me to achieve my career goals, although we all know how difficult making the life altering decision of “what do I want to be when I grow up” can be. I have always had a curious mind when it comes to science and a passion for nature and wildlife – so yeah! here I am!  I am writing this blog (my first blog ever..) as a requirement for one of my classes this semester, Biology 3430 – Plants & People. Although this blog is an assignment and in other words I have no choice in the matter, I am actually really looking forward to branching out of my regular “scientific” writing style! So without Further ado – lets get started!

The fascinating journey of how Alisa and James, husband and wife of Vancouver, B.C.,  sustained themselves on a diet consisting of solely local foods produced within 100 miles for one year is depicted through the novel “The 100-Mile Diet A Year of Local Eating”. The first half of this captivating story covers why and how this journey of eating local started, the difficulties, and more importantly the joys both Alisa and James have encountered. They begun their 100 mile diet in March and quickly realized how difficult this experiment may be. Moreover, this story examines how the global food system has developed into what it is now while also reminiscing about their personal relationship and memories with food, as well as the connections made between meals and family.

It was easy to imagine Alisa and James’ world in Vancouver for the simple reason that it is so close to me. I was born in Abbotsford B.C., raised in Prince George and I am now currently residing in Kamloops. While James described the ocean, mountains and communities of beautiful B.C. I could see them clearly in my head. This was one of the first aspects of the story that made me want to keep reading and the geographical closeness made it easy to imaging myself in their shoes. Specifically every summer while driving to the coast to visit distant family near chilliwack, the oh so familiar scent of manure overwhelmed us every time as kids, as James mentioned while hunting for local farms.

In one of Alisa’s chapters, “July”, I enjoyed and related to the annoyance she felt towards the question she mentions on pg. 87: “Getting bored yet?”. She follows this by listing a wide variety of produce and stating how local produce changed over the weeks of productive summer. Moreover she emphasizes how their diet seemed to have more variety than before this 100 mile diet expirement! The ignorant questions like “are you bored yet?” or “what do you even eat then?” is something that I encounter on a regular basis being a vegetarian so this part of the story was all too relateable.

Overall, so far I have found Alisa and James’ story motivating. The struggles of missing foods that they have become accustomed to; salad dressing, coffee, sugar and flour as well as the joys of adventuring and discovering new sources of local food like lush blueberry U-pick farms and relationship building with local fishermen are fascinating. Their story has changed the way I shop, in a good way!.. literally forcing me to read all the labels on the produce I buy. Moreover Alisa and James’ journey has motivated me to take challenge myself in a similar matter, not quite as intense though. I will recommend this book to many and am very excited to continue reading, relating, questioning and reflecting through their story.

Thanks for you time & Cheers! (with B.C. wine of course!!! :P)

-Jenna May Kavanagh



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