Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making a difference within 100 miles

Author Alisa Smith to talk on her experiment to eat locally

Express Staff Writer

“Plenty: Eating Locally On the 100 Mile Diet” by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon. Published by Three Rivers Press. 264 pp.

When author Alisa Smith saw a New Zealand sticker on her apple, she began to think about how far food traveled to her. She wondered why she was not eating an apple from Washington state, much closer to her Vancouver home.

"When I started out with my experiment, I had more environmental reasons in mind," Smith said. "When I started doing it, I got more interested in farmers and how important they are."

Smith will present her book "Plenty: Eating Locally On The 100 Mile Diet," co-authored by her partner, J. B. Mackinnon, on Friday, Oct. 8, at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum for the Opening Performance of Sheep Tales Gathering for the 14th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival. The talk is $15 and will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door.

It was Mackinnon's idea that the two embark on a year of eating foods originating from a 100-mile radius from where the couple lived.

"It was amazing to me how little help there is for small-scale farmers," Smith said. "They are the ones who will save us as oil becomes too expensive."

Smith said she also discovered how food is a healthy addition to our social lives.

"It's not a chore but a treasure," she said. "It can be fun getting together to create food."

Smith comes to Ketchum on the heels of a summer in Spain where she was doing research for a new book on an anti-logging protest.

"Any time you go to a new place, you start from square one to get to know it," she said. "Concentrating on eating locally is a real fun way to get to know the culture. We went to the farmers' markets and the fishermen for food."

Smith said Europe appears to be very traditional about its food, but is just as affected by a global marketplace, much like the U.S.

"Their food traditions have been fragmented," she said. "I met a woman in Spain who said she can't buy beans locally for her bean dish and that the beans are all from Bolivia."

Smith also said Japanese buyers are waiting on the docks in Spain to buy tuna off the boats to distribute all over the world, leaving little for the locals to sell.

Smith will talk about her experiment and the funny stories that emerged from trying to stick to the one-year plan, and how eating locally is being taken more seriously.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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