I have been missing in action for many months now. Busy with garden, building new accommodations for chickens, keeping up with teenagers, etc., etc., etc. I am now going to do my best to blog more regularly.
I just finished reading a fascinating book, Blessing the Hands that Feed Us by Vicki Robin. Vicki Robin is a writer and social innovator living on Whidbey Island, just to the south of us. To learn more about her, go to her website vickirobin.com. Vicki undertook an “hyper-local” diet of 10 miles. The book documents her journey as well as her thoughts about the food system. The book was very thought provoking. I really recommend it for anyone interested in the local food movement.
I have decided to emulate her for the month of September, but I am going to limit myself to the Saanich Peninsula which is actually smaller than would be included in a 10 mile diameter circle. A 10 mile circle from our property would include the south end of Salt Spring Island as well as over to Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake and Cobble Hill, and south into Saanich and Langford.
I am not so much concerned about having enough to eat, as local food is very plentiful, especially in September (my husband thinks I should do this again in February), as discovering what it is actually like to live within the constraints of eating locally.
For me this will mean not picking up something pre-made at the grocery store on the way home, no packaged snacks in my purse, no Starbucks when I’m out, no bananas, no almond milk, limited teas and I’m sure much, much more.
I have a lot of food that I have raised already in the freezer. We raise lamb and rabbit, I just bought some local chicken and my chickens should start to lay in September. I sell eggs for a friend on our roadside stand anyway, so the protein side of things is pretty easy.
I have a large vegetable garden and am currently growing lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, gai lan, garlic, shallots, chives, kale, cabbage, edamame, assorted beans, both for storing dry and eating green, potatoes, a few chickpeas, herbs, and a variety of squash. I’ve got a couple of varieties of plums, raspberries and blackberries for fruit. So I’m fairly well off for providing our own fruit and vegetable.
Vicki Robin included a few exotics in her diet – oil, lemons and limes, salt, indian spices and caffeine.
I am going to try to go without all of those except salt. I have found sources of salt both on Salt Spring Island and out in Sooke. The source on Salt Spring Island is slightly outside the 10 mile circle, but I am going to consider it local. I purchased some at the Saturday market last weekend.
I am planning to use Island Farms butter as it is not possible to specifically purchase butter that has only been produced by Saanich Peninsula cows, but some percentage of the butter will have been produced by the dairy farms on the Saanich Peninsula. I’m sure I will miss my olive oil.
My plan at this point is to use the next month to check out as many roadside stands and markets as I can to see what other items that I don’t grow are available. I will blog each week about what I have found. I’ll be making good use of the Farm Fresh brochure which includes listings of local foods and where to find them. You can find a copy at many farm stands as well as more information at islandfarmfresh.com.
I plan to start my Saanich Peninsula Diet September 6th after the Saanich Fair is over. If I am away during the month, I will do my best to choose local foods where I am, or take as much as possible with me. It will be very interesting to see where this month takes me, the connections I make with local farms, what I actually miss and just how challenging it will be.