The 100 Mile Diet is not really a diet in the modern sense (a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce ones weight). It is truer to the ancient Greek definition diaita, which means literally, manner of living.
The 100 Mile Diet is a practice of deprivation; it is a manner of living or lifestyle.
Originally coined by James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith , the 100 Mile Diet refers to the practice of consuming food that has been grown, manufactured or produced within a 100 mile radius of the person consuming the food.
On the first day of spring in 2005, James and Alisa chose to confront the fact that when the average North American sits down to a meal, they are sitting down to foods that have travelled over 1500 miles. In an attempt to confront and bring attention to this practice, they decided to only consume food and drink that was produced within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia.
When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles—Alisa & James call it “the SUV diet.” On the first day of spring, 2005, Alisa and James chose to confront this unsettling statistic with a simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Soon after they began to chronicle their experiment on their blog at thetyee.ca, the blogosphere and ultimately the mainstream media became aware of their 100 Mile Diet. With this unexpected attention, came the creation of a grassroots 100 Mile community.
People all across North America began to look at the food they ate in a new way.
- What am I eating?
- Where did it come from?
- What goes into it?
- What are the repercussions of consuming this food?
There is also a connection between this diet and the proponents of this diet (known as locavores) to the concept of sustainability. And while the terms, locavore and sustainability may be relatively new, the concept is not.
The connection between food and ethics has been explored in literary form in the books:
- Diet for a New America
- Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma
- Fast Food Nation
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
- The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating
- Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100-Mile Diet