Thursday, August 09, 2007

The 100 Mile Diet

A study by Chris Goodall, author of How to Live a Low Carbon Life, purports to show that walking to a store three miles away actually contributes more to global warming than driving a car would, due to the carbon intensive system of food production we have developed--especially when it comes to beef.

While I'm a bit skeptical about the findings--he counts all of the inputs that go into creating and transporting food, but doesn't seem to count the energy required to build and transport cars--Goodall does raise an important point: our agricultural system is increasingly oil and gas dependent. Food sold in the U.S. is now shipped in from an average of 1,500 miles away--a 25% increase from 1980.

That's the impetus behind the 100 mile diet. Starting in 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon, of British Columbia decided to try to live for one year buying or gathering their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia. Within weeks of their announcement on their blog, word had spread around the world.

This year 80 Seattle residents signed on to an experiment to eat only food grown within 100 miles of home for the month of August. In addition to the desire to reduce fossil fuel use, the participants are finding that the food is fresher and better tasting, they are getting to know local farmers and businesses, and with stories of tainted food from China, they feel safer knowing where their food is coming from.

The Seattle project comes on top of the 10,000 people who have pledged to do their own 100 mile experiment.

Should a real oil crunch come, the 100 mile diet may become a necessity. As Cuba found out after the collapse of the Soviet Union cut off their oil supplies, locally grown food can literally be a life saver.


At 11:26 PM, Blogger Gingersnap13 said...

Hey all…I just found this brand new green and sustainable living concept on the market that was invented in Oregon. It’s called the NW Modern from ideabox and the man who created this home was also the brains behind the e-rated appliances, the predecessor to the Department of Energy’s Engery Star Program.

Ideabox is sustainable and green in both building materials and construction. It’s the hippest and most resourceful thing I’ve seen since Bluetooth technology! This energy efficient pre-fab home is wrapped up in a cool, modern design that is actually affordable!

For the environmentally responsible consumer this cabin is cool and sleek. I mean we’re talking living large here in 400 sq. feet of luxury in a clever high end pre-fab home with a very intelligent design.

The research I’ve done shows that ideabox uses environmentally friendly products and construction with wireless technologies. Designed with the idea that you can live large in a small space, ideabox is attracting very posh customers. And hey…less can be more! My family is considering it for a vacation home on some land at the lake or the beach. Another thought I have is putting it on my property for when the kids come home. Once you’re in college, staying right with mom is tough. This way, they can have space but still be “home”.

Here is some more information I found on how environmentally friendly ideabox is…

· Wireless technology because power lines are SO last year.
· Standing seam metal roofing – sustainable and fire retardant
· Fiber-cement siding for low maintenance
· Galvalume corrugated metal siding for an industrial look and efficient construction.
· Bamboo flooring because it’s sleek and renewable
· Energy Star appliances and lighting for the best in energy efficiency
· Marmoleum countertops, made from renewable resources
· Fully insulated walls for maximum energy efficiency
· Energy-efficient ENERGY STAR labeled windows to regulate temperature
· Less than 2% construction waste because materials are ordered to size
· Low volatile organic compound paints for better, healthier indoor air
· Duo-flush toilets for water efficiency
· Day lighting; windows in all exterior walls and interior re-lite strategies
· Tankless water heaters to reduce electricity use

I haven’t seen anything like this before! Have any of you? If you want more information about these homes you can visit

At 1:18 PM, Blogger luis said...

I think any resource we can use to help us be a greener planet is of great help.
If the economics don't work, recycling efforts won't either.
As our little contribution to make this economics of recycling more appealing, blogs about people and companies that make money selling recycled or reused items, provide green services or help us reduce our dependency on non renewable resources.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Natalie said...

Urban farming and micro-farming are a great antidote to this problem, although with a projected 80% of people globally living in cities by the year 2050 it won't be enough. I wrote a whole post on the issues of urban and micro-farming in Vancouver, BC in my blog this week. There are some useful links and resources. - Nat

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Deltacang said...

Diane said... Our commission building in Clinton Township has built a rain garden. The garden recycle rain water from the roof.

I do my share by using a push lawn mower and purchase food grown and produced in Michigan.

Some of the products are a little bit more expensive, but at least I am helping out our community and hopefull the state.

I heard of the 100 mile diet, and I thought it is a very good idea.

At 10:43 PM, Blogger cotocorad said...

Another interesting note, automotive manufacturing is beginning to adopt a philosophy that transportation costs are not important. They are adopting a "Just In Time" JIT philosophy. In some cases this causes emergency air shipping and overall it means that items are shipped in smaller quantities. The idea is to reduce inventory, thus reducing waste by eliminating over production. This principle can be hard to grasp at first but I think it is somehow related to what you are talking about in this post. The cost of producing a wasted widget or one that has to be stored is somehow higher than the extra transportation costs.

At 2:47 AM, Blogger LoveAppleFarm said...

I've completely bought into the prediction that our oil will run out sooner rather than later. When that happens, people will need to rely on their small, local family farm for their food, or grow their own. I'm happy to be one of those small family farmers. I also love teaching people how to grow their own food. I was in France this past summer, and was delighted to see that just about everyone there who is not tightly packed into a city has their own vegetable garden. We Americans (and everyone on earth who can, for that matter) should start their own gardens and learn how to grow better veggies!


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