A look into the 100-Mile challenge

“I felt like a phony.”

This was my friend’s answer when asked why he became a vegan. This basic sentiment is the real reason I chose to do the 100-Mile challenge two weeks ago.

There are many motivations to embark on the “100-Mile challenge,” a diet consisting only of food grown and produced within 100 miles of when you live. One main reason is to reduce your carbon footprint by not participating in the consumption of food that has travelled thousands of miles from crop to plate. Apart from other environmental impacts, eating local supports local business, gives a name and a face to the grower or producer of your food, and tastes better.

These are all reason enough to take on the diet, and I finally tried it because I felt like a fake, preaching the benefits and never committing, like a nonexclusive relationship. And I also got an email from Greening McGill.

I’m now at the halfway point of the diet, and as it turns out, it is the last thing I expected: EASY. Most of my groceries come from Organic Campus or the McGill Farmers’ Market. In-season vegetables not found there are undoubtedly at Jean Talon, as well as meat and eggs. Local sunflower oil from Frigo Vert can substitute for olive oil, and basically all of the dairy products in Quebec are local. You can find local wine and hard cider at a standard SAQ, and there is a buckwheat beer produced locally with local ingredients. Most importantly, there is a bountiful amount of honey, which has been crucial for satiating my sweet tooth. My friend even tracked down local flour that is grown and ground within 100 miles.

Balancing this with a full academic, extra-curricular, and work schedule is admittedly tricky, but is completely doable with a little thought. It’s true, I have to wake up 10 minutes earlier to make breakfast, but the veggie egg scramble with the cheese I found just outside of Oka is worth it. So is the Swiss chard, collard greens, onion, carrot, leek, and pepper stir-fry over a bed of garlic roasted potatoes. Not to mention the baked squash with honey apple filling or potato-leek soup. Mmmm and baked pears for dessert. Next on the to-do list is honey ice cream and pizza…somehow.

Come November 15, yes, I will race to Provigo and guzzle down the chocolate coated confectionary that is Bridge Mix. I will also, however, continue eating as locally as possible, especially now that I know the wide range of food this area has to offer. And just maybe I’ll feel like a little less of a phony.