Maps elsewhere: The 100-mile diet
My own view is that if we’re not going to be able to import asparagus from Peru in February in the future because of peak oil, we might as well enjoy it now. But then again, I’m a Bad Person, at least now and then.
Many people are Better People, particularly the advocates of the 100-mile diet, in which (as you probably already know) all your food has to be produced no more than 100 miles from your plate.
This sort of thing is more practical in southern Ontario than in some other places. Vancouver authors Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon wrote a book about their attempt to follow the 100-mile diet in Vancouver.
The Lower Mainland being mostly mountain, it creates endless problems, both in their kitchen and to their relationship. Having not thought the thing through completely, and having rejected fish, they live almost completely on potatoes for months at a time, struggling with cravings for fresh bread. Eventually, driven by desperation, they find a rare Rocky Mountain wheat farmer, buy a bag of grain, grind their own flour and do some baking.
Whatever the merits of the concept itself, their implementation of the API is excellent: enter any postal code or U.S. zip code and have your personal 100-mile map automatically generated.
Our own 100-mile circle bisects western Ontario in an awkward way (the farm near Aylmer in the image at left is sliced in half by the line), cutting out the rich produce areas south of London where the first Ontario berries and asparagus come from in the spring – Essex County strawberries are the earliest, and it seems kind of masochistic to ignore them until the Simcoe ones come in a week or so later. Later in the season, it cuts out Aylmer field tomatoes.
To the east, we would find ourselves buying wine from some Prince Edward County vineyards but not others.
On the other hand, it includes a lot of land northwest of Peterborough and Orillia which has never really been arable. It also includes several counties of western New York, and the tiniest imaginable shred of Ohio.
I like the concept of supporting local farmers much better than this very literal-minded, Procrustean approach to it.