The Last 50 Miles

Well, here it is, the last half of “The 100-Mile Diet”, that book I started at the beginning of the semester, now sitting on my desk, dense and unappealing. I should be doing other things, writing papers, reading reviews, looking at literature, but instead I have to read the other half of this book. But this is the second half of the book, it should reach some sort of climax in this portion of the novel, right? So, tea in hand, I sit down and pick up the considerable literary heft that is the last 50 miles of the 100 mile diet, and I have to say.

I was let down.

Each month in the latter portion of this book reflects the same themes as it did in the first half of the book. Yes, I understand that local food is good for the environment. Okay, I get that there is an abundance of local foods available from nearby farms, fields, and fisheries that helps one obtain all the products we need to survive. It’s nice that  through some digging into local agriculture, one can find all the things that we ship in from far away, but does it need to be stated over another 135 pages? I understand that this is non-scientific literature, and that it can use symbolism, allusions, literary arc and other techniques, but for a relatively non-complex concept like “local eating is important to help save the environment”, I really don’t think it needed that much fluff text.

Maybe it is just my prior knowledge on the topic. I already understood the idea of our environmental footprint from food is colossal, and to mitigate it we need to think local, eat closer. My family already tries to source locally as much as it can, and relies almost solely on our own gardens for fresh greens and canned tomatoes. Mackinnon and Smith valiantly reinforce the idea that local eating is important. but I already knew that. So when they courageously obtained honey from a local apiary, or find wheat from a farm on Vancouver Island, I nod and concur with their decisions, but it’s not really engaging for me. For someone who isn’t aware of the ability of one to find these resources, I’m sure the literary arc is riveting, and really drives home the idea of “local food availability”, but it just wasn’t for me.

This negative rant aside, I did find the eplilogue where the two authors went and collected salt from Bamfield. That is one resource that I found challenging to collect from a local source. It was nifty that they went all the way to that faraway region to hand-collect salt from the ocean’s waters (although ocean salts can contain some questionable mineral constituents that could be damaging if consumed in large quantities).

The book plunked itself back onto the table, smug, glad I spent my precious hours reading the last portions of the story. I just sat there, nursing my glass of imported green tea and glaring at the book and thinking, “well, I should probably go dump this tea out and collect some of my mint from last summer”.




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