Choosing to “Eat Local” is becoming all the rage
“Food Security” means that all members of our society have access to enough food at all times. The food must be nutritious, sufficient, safe and environmentally sustainable. Presently on Vancouver Island, we do not have food security. 90% of our food is brought in from the outside. There are 6 food banks in the Cowichan Valley alone.
There are many schools which have had to institute food programs for the students. There are only 3 days of food on the Island to feed its populace. If a disaster were to strike the transportation industry, we would find ourselves in trouble very quickly.
Local Food Policy Council seed vault heirloom seeds
100 Mile Diet for a small island…quite the challenge
Does this mean I can never eat oranges or drink coffee?
“The Hundred Mile Diet” has become popular recently, but for us island dwellers, 100 miles would put us into the Fraser Valley, Bellingham and Port Angeles. Therefore we prefer to discuss the Vancouver Island Diet.
As part of this study, you may come across words you may find unfamiliar such as “locavore” and “ecoastronomy.” You can check out the definitions on our Gossary page.
The Vancouver Island Diet means not only eating food produced on the island (by becoming a locavor), )but supporting our local farmers, fishers and food producers by providing them with a decent livelihood. It means taking the trouble to seek out producers of all kinds of products that we use on a daily basis and making the very political decision to shop locally. It means asking the managers of local stores to clearly label where foods and products are from the Island.
To date there have been several successful programs such as “Fruit Save,” a program to collect uneaten fruit off local trees and deliver it to the food bank; community gardens; “Field to Table,” run by Cowichan Community Kitchens; Plant Education and “Food Chain,” a component of Cowichan Green Community’s Food Futures Cowichan program
The Food Action Coordinating Team in Ladysmith completed it’s study on Food Security in 2007 and has made many useful recommendations around access to grocery stores, packaging, inadequate home storage and cooking equipment and the lack of community policy on Food Security.
But more needs to be done. Local governments are working with farmers’ organizations and the rest of the community to make food security not just a dream, but a reality. For instance the City of Duncan will be requiring future developers of multi-family residential developments to build in food production areas on the property. This could be fruit trees or raised garden beds or grapes, but the land will have to be set aside.
It is important that you talk to your friends and neighbours about the importance of eating locally. When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles. When you multiply that by millions of people, think of the impact that has on our environment. A 100 Mile or Island diet is no longer a luxury but a necessity.
Growing your own small garden can make a big difference
Even in winter you can still have potatoes, beets, kale, chard. Eating locally doesn’t mean always shopping. You can do the 100 yard Diet by eating out of your own garden.