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The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  797 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
The remarkable, amusing and inspiring adventures of a Canadian couple who make a year-long attempt to eat foods grown and produced within a 100-mile radius of their apartment.

When Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon learned that the average ingredient in a North American meal travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate, they decided to launch a simple experiment to reconnect with t
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 12th 2007 by Random House Canada
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,518)
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Jun 14, 2015 OhWell rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Neat idea, even if the writing is tedious at times. I enjoyed reading the month by month journal, sprinkled with humour, and the occasional recipes. I wouldn't go to such extremes as the authors - just thinking of separating wheat grains from mouse poop makes my stomach turn - but I'm all for eating locally grown food, especially produce, whenever possible. I hope the book convinces others it's worth a try. Best reason: the taste, way better than whatever gets flown or trucked over from thousand ...more
Dec 10, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: health-conscious people and local-produce lovers
Recommended to Kate by: University of Calgary
Shelves: nonfiction
I really enjoyed reading this book. It added enough descriptiveness and flourish to the storyline to make more than a cut-and-dry how-to non-fiction about healthy eating. I live in Alberta, but want to move to Vancouver when I'm in grad school, so this will definitely help me with figuring out what is local and good to eat. I had to read this for school, but I'm glad I did, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to support local farms and eat a little bit healthier. =)
Patti Mcconnell
May 11, 2012 Patti Mcconnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help-books
This book is about eating locally or within a 100 mile radius of where the food was grown for a period of one year. This couple does not have children and they live in Canada. So...they cannot eat salt, wheat products, etc. The book is interesting, but at times they spend so much time and energy into finding the food, that it seems like it consumes their entire lives. Weekends are spent trying to find local growers, bee keepers for honey, etc. They fixed a dinner for 4 and it cost $124.00 becaus ...more
his is a very well written, interesting and funny book. It has a lot of really useful information about, of course, eating locally, but also about random bits of history as well as some intriguing recipes. It is very readable, as if you are having a friendly conversation with James and Alisa. It's quite personal too, delving into the minds, troubles and triumphs of the authors. It is completely inspiring and helps you realize how possible it is to understand what you're eating, how it's produced ...more
Katy Emanuel
Apr 09, 2016 Katy Emanuel rated it it was amazing
Interesting read for anyone interested in learning more about eating locally. We aim to eat locally as much as we can and learning and teaching our children about where our food comes from by growing some of our own and frequenting the farmers markets and local farms. This is definitely doable however I suspect there are many areas that it would prove to be much more difficult. We are lucky to live in a greenbelt area and have access to wonderful local farms who raise and grow their food ethical ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Julia rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading it. I thought it would be slow going like reading a textbook, but instead it was a 1-year biography snapshot into this couples life experiment. Each chapter alternates author, which keeps it interesting. I would definitely recommend it, in fact, I have.
Tony Fecteau
Apr 13, 2012 Tony Fecteau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
Very interesting! My wife and I try to live this way, but are not quite as fanatical about it. We love local produce and will choose it if it is available. The stories and issues that come up in this book are great. A big eye opener for me in some cases.
Denise Yuen
Loved the story that chronicled the joys and difficulties in trying to eat and source all food within a 100 mile radius for a year. Made me really think how far my food travels and has inspired me to make a more concerted effort to eat locally!
Jan 04, 2012 Josie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has inspired me to try to buy locally grown food to reduce my carbon footprint. It has also helped to open my eyes to how many miles my food travels just to get to my plate.
Jun 29, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it
What an eye-opener. Made me think about where all my food comes from and what it takes to get there.....know I could not have done what they did for 1 year!!!!
Apr 16, 2008 Ariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university-books
Made me very, very hungry. Also made me very thankful for farmers' markets and local food.
I was excited to read The 100-Mile Diet because there's so much hype surrounding it. My husband and I are trying to maintain a diet of local, seasonal food and have read a handful of books on this subject ... every single one mentions The 100-Mile Diet so I assumed this book was where the "eat local" philosophy originated. (Turns out, the concept of eating local seasonal food was very much alive and well long before Alisa Smith and her boyfriend JB MacKinnon started documenting their experience ...more
Feb 01, 2010 Mary-Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable and enlightening book. I liked the short recipes that began each chapter and really connected them to the challenge. There was a lot more descriptive detail than I generally like, but my interest in the topic pulled me through it. The authors did a good job of weaving together the idea of eating locally with the effects on their lives. The combination of personal narrative, food-reporting, and recipes worked well. I learned a lot and appreciated the opportunity to reflect o ...more
Apr 13, 2009 Maija rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
A couple (both writers) draw a 100-mile radius around their home and attempt to eat food solely from this area for a year. I found this book interesting and an easy read, but I didn't quite love it.

Things I liked:
* setting in the NW - I went to college in Bellingham, WA, not far from Vancouver, and now live in Portland, OR, so I could relate to the seasons of produce.
* trade off of writing - the couple alternates chapter writing. I liked the different perspectives and voices, rather than if t
Jun 24, 2010 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-reads
This is our "One Book, One Community" choice for 2008. I purchased this book because of that and then put off reading it because I thought it would be a boring "this is what we did to save the environment" book. I was wrong! I really enjoyed this book. It made me think and definitely made me more aware of choices that we make in our lives, which I never considered as having an impact on our environment. Could I go so far as to live this way, even for one year? NO! Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the ...more
Oct 25, 2009 Jayme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of food and food politics
Shelves: food-writing, health
The book that started the local eating diet craze. This is the first book that got me thinking about buying more local foods. Smith and Mackinnon give a great description of their adventure with local eating for a year in Vancouver. Also being from Vancouver I found this book doubly interesting. I don't think I would have had the same experience if they were talking about the local food culture of a different area.

The one problem I had with this book was the extreme approach the authors took. T
Feb 24, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lower Mainlanders and those who love it here
Shelves: nature, 2009
I can admit to starting this book a sceptic. Not about the wonders of local eating, but about the potential of local reading. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing and the subject was a feast in itself. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest and this book hails from the Pacific Northwest, I can find the local wine and seaweed, go berry picking, head out to the delta farmlands, and have my visiting prairie family import wheat in their suitcases. Had I read this while I still lived in Calgary I ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Jo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
Definitely a great read!

Last year I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver which was also very good {with the exception of the turkey slaughtering chapter} but I found this book by Alisa and James a lot easier to relate to. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the family decides to pack up and leave the city for a year and head out into the country to live on a farm, which is just not something the average person can easily do. In this book however, it's about a you
Travis Evans
Apr 19, 2014 Travis Evans rated it really liked it
In this thoughtful and smart book (a chronicle built around the couple's year-long experiment), the authors work with ideas related to 'You are what you eat' and 'You are how you eat'. Their thinking is persuasive and educational, and even if you're skeptical about some of their claims related to our disconnection from nature and how that impacts us, they're keen to share ideas and propose ways to change our individual and communal lives for the better. Now, how could anyone not like that?
Barb Tarelli
Jun 10, 2014 Barb Tarelli rated it really liked it
Elegant and thoughtful.
The authors have their POVs about out supposed disconnection from nature, but they're hardly evangelists. They describe their experiences (plusses and minuses), and take little trips in order to further explore their ideas.
For readers, we can take what we want from their experiences—which in my case meant definitely paying more attention to the natural world and the harm I might be doing it with the simplest (bad) habits.
Joanna Cabot
Nov 30, 2013 Joanna Cabot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2013
This was a beautifully written and inspirational memoir of a couple who spends one year trying to eat only foods which were grown locally. I loved seeing their evolution from clueless experimenters to experienced food preparers. Some of their implementations were a little extreme---I don't think my partner is in any hurry to clear out a coat closet so we can hang and dry our own chili peppers and hoard potatoes for the winter. But I think that any attempt to become closer to the nature or one's ...more
Corinna Souder
Aug 12, 2015 Corinna Souder rated it it was amazing
Fantastic experiment done to explore the adventures of eating locally! This book describes the journey in a creative journal style with educational insight to food accessibility, indigenous culture, foodways and the lost art of traditional cooking - among many other food-related topics and issues - and is a great resource for anyone in the Vancouver area who wants to start this lifestyle. Solid 10/10
3.25 stars. Alisa and James, living in Vancouver, British Columbia, decide to go one year, eating only local foods, which they’ve defined as all ingredients made within a 100-mile radius of where they live. This book tells about their year, eating locally. The chapters alternate between Alisa's and James's points of view.

It was interesting, but as much as I like the idea, I just couldn’t do it myself. Maybe if I was willing to cook, but it seemed to take so much effort... Living in a northern, C
This book is an entertaining and fast read about a couple who decide to spend a year eating a 100-mile diet in Vancouver, BC.

Co-authored in alternating chapters, the book turns out to be largely a series of anecdotes about hunting for 100-mile wheat, the dearth of local seafood despite being on the ocean, a potato-and-kale diet, rotting onions, local characters, and home canning. It could have been so much more, as they finally find local wheat and learn that wheat had been a common crop in the
Aug 29, 2007 Sienna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: bleeding artichoke hearts
Even though it reads a bit like a blog, I enjoyed this book a great deal. It's an inspiring and fascinating attempt to block out the dietary tunnel vision - and it's a long tunnel - that has come to characterize our eating habits. The book is not without flaws; I cringe at the amount of gas they must have gone through while driving around in search of local food, and could have done without mention of their relationship issues over the course of what was obviously a challenging and exhilarating ...more
Jul 24, 2008 elizabeth_agd rated it really liked it
Recommended to elizabeth_agd by: KPL One Community One Book
Written in chapters that depict each month of the journey, alternating between both partners and authors and their perspectives, this book provided a lot of interesting information on eating habits in our current society as well as a background on how it came to be this way.

I appreciated the discussion about the importance of eating local not only to support a local economy but also the food is fresher and more authentic.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more ab
Sep 20, 2009 Nellie rated it liked it
An interesting book highlighting the difficulties of eating locally but also the joys of discovering local sources of foods. It is sad that we as a society have strayed so far from eating locally in these modern times that documenting people doing it for year is worthy of a book. When I think of my childhood, I think how lucky I was to have grown up on a farm and in a time when almost all our vegetables were grown in our garden (and then frozen and canned for the long winter), our milk, meat and ...more
Jun 25, 2008 Gwen rated it it was amazing
I read this book right on the heels of Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It was especially good because I also live in the Pacific NW and learned some tips, though almost all of the locations are in Canada (mom, this will come back to you to read before I hand it on to others!)

Probably my favorite thing about the book is the chapters alternated between Alisa and James (much in the way Kingsolver's husband and daughter contributed to her book), so I learned something about each of them a
Aug 13, 2008 Yvonne rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the way Alisa was so introspective. Some of her musings put words to things I've wondered, too.
The experiment is very thought-provoking. I would recommend this book to anyone who has dreamed about being part of the solution to so many issues facing people today. Local eating seems to be something the average person can do to relieve their impact on the environment while promoting healthy eating and a sense of community in their neighborhood. Who doesn't want to do their part to reliev
Feb 17, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction, 2012
Canadian couple (no kids, mind you) ride their bikes around looking for food grown within 100 miles of home for a year and try to still love each other at the end. Enjoyable and informative, inspiring and disheartening at the same time. But if everyone did just a bit better than they do now, we'd be healthier and so would the planet. I'm going to start by growing more veggies, choosing free range meat for the family, and looking into farmers' markets nearby. But I won't write a book about it.
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The book Plenty has different subtitles in hardcover and paperback and the Canadian edition was called The 100-Mile Diet.

Alisa Smith, a Vancouver-based freelance writer who has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, has been published in Outside, Explore, Canadian Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Utne, and many other periodicals. The books Way Out There and Liberalized feature her work.
More about Alisa Smith...

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